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Preston North End 1-2 Town - Match Report
Saturday, 22nd Aug 2015 17:03

Brett Pitman and Ryan Fraser netted as the top-of-the-table Blues defeated Preston North End 2-1 to record their first league win at Deepdale since January 1966. Pitman put Town in front with a header against the run of play in the 24th minute but Daniel Johnson hit back for the home side before Fraser sealed it with a brilliant strike on 65.

Pitman - making his full league debut for the Blues - David McGoldrick and Dean Gerken were all included from the off for the first time in the league this season.

McGoldrick lined up behind Pitman with Freddie Sears on the right and Ryan Fraser on the left.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles dropped to the bench, while Daryl Murphy missed out with a calf injury and Bartosz Bialkowski due to a personal family matter, the keeper later announcing the death of his father having travelled back to Poland on the morning of the game. Michael Crowe was on the bench.

Teddy Bishop and Kevin Bru (hamstring), Jonny Parr (thigh) and Luke Hyam (knee surgery) remain sidelined.

Preston included play-off final hat-trick hero Jermaine Beckford on the bench, his first involvement this season after he suffered a knock in pre-season.

Town started brightly and won an early corner but Fraser’s kick was cleared at the near post by Paul Gallagher.

Preston went close in the eighth minute when Joe Garner, who scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup replay between the sides in January 2014, fed Chris Humphrey but Jonas Knudsen did well to get across to block his shot on the turn.

The home side began to put the Blues under a bit of pressure and two minutes later Paul Huntington headed just over from a corner on the right.

The Lilywhites should have gone in front in the 12th minute when Garner somehow headed a Gallagher freekick from the right wide from around four yards when it seemed easier to score.

Gallagher subsequently hit a shot which struck Tommy Smith and deflected harmlessly through to Gerken, then the Blues keeper was forced to fist away a powerful shot from the former Blackburn and Leicester man, who had been found in space on the left by Greg Cunningham.

Preston continued the pressure, Gerken saving well from Garner and then Gallagher, although with the flag already raised, then Garner’s effort on the turn was blocked by Smith after he was found in a promising position on the edge of the six-yard box.

On 19 Garner scraped another strike wide with the home side having had much the better of the game. The Blues had struggled to create anything with Murphy’s aerial presence greatly missed when long balls were sent forward.

There was another scare for Town in the 23rd minute when Humphrey escaped behind Knudsen as Neil Kilkenny played a superb cross-field ball from the Preston left. Fortunately for Town Humphrey screwed his effort well into the Blues supporters behind the goal.

Almost immediately, and thoroughly against the run of play, Town went in front with their first attempt on goal. Following a Knudsen long throw, Sears worked himself space on the left before whipping over a cross and Pitman, by now in the deeper central role, flicked a superb header to Preston keeper Jordan Pickford’s right and into the net for his first goal for the Blues. It was also the first conceded by the Lilywhites in the league this season.

Preston were forced into a change in the 32nd minute when Cunningham picked up a knock and was replaced by Calum Woods.

The Town goal had knocked the wind out of Preston’s sails somewhat but in the 37th minute they got back on terms.

A Knudsen long throw from the left was cleared and Preston broke quickly with the Blues caught short of numbers at the back. Humphrey fed Daniel Johnson, who was breaking into the area to his left unchecked, and the midfielder calmly slotted the ball past Gerken.

Town immediately looked to restore their lead, Sears cutting the ball across from the right but Pickford claimed ahead of Fraser.

A minute before the end of scheduled time John Welsh was booked for a clumsy tackle on Jonathan Douglas.

Town had been fortunate to go in front when they did with the home side having dominated up to then and having had chances to take the lead.

Once they had gone ahead, the Blues never made their advantage tell and overall Preston were well worth their equaliser when it came, even though it was a very poor goal to concede from a Town perspective.

The Blues struggled to pose much of a threat going forward throughout the half, Pitman’s excellent goal aside, with McGoldrick largely unable to get into the game and Murphy’s aerial presence missed.

Town’s personnel remained unchanged at the start of the second half. Garner scuffed a 20-yard shot well wide for the home side, then at the other end Fraser got to the byline on the left and crossed towards skipper Luke Chambers at the far post but Preston sub Callum Woods nodded behind.

Fraser made another impressive run on 50 but Welsh slid in to dispossess him, then Pitman ran into a crowd of players as he broke into the area. Nevertheless, the Blues were looking more of a danger going forward than they had before the break.

On 53 Humphrey lashed a shot over from a tight angle on the right but Preston were less of a threat in the early stages of the second half than they had been for much of the first.

After Knudsen had won a corner with a cross from the left, Preston keeper Pickford missed Fraser’s flag-kick, Berra hooked the ball back into the danger area but the home side cleared.

Two minutes later, Sears flicked the ball through to McGoldrick, who skipped into space before hitting a shot only just over the bar. Moments later, the Town number 10 was replaced by Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

The Blues had been the better side in the second half but without creating too many chances. But in the 65th minute they went back in front.

After a lengthy spell of Town possession, the ball was brought inside from the right to the edge of the area and Pitman laid it off to his former Bournemouth team-mate Fraser, who curled a brilliant right-foot shot which shaped away from Pickford and struck the net just inside the post.

It was the Scotland U21 international’s second goal for the Blues and one he’ll do well to better during the rest of his season on loan at Portman Road.

Preston went chasing a second equaliser and the Blues just about survived a 71st minute goalmouth scramble which ended with Gerken saving Paul Huntington’s header and then Knudsen sliding in bravely to block as Garner sought to profit from the rebound.

Garner was booked for attempting to handle a cross from the right into the net in the 74th minute, Gerken having reacted brilliantly to keep the ball the right side of the line.

Two minutes later, after Beckford had replaced Kilkenny, Bailey Wright was booked for a foul on Maitland-Niles just outside the box, Pitman sending the freekick deep into the stand behind the goal.

Goalscorer Fraser was replaced by league debutant Larsen Touré for the final five minutes, the loanee winger receiving warm applause from the 960 Blue supporters as he left the field.

Preston continued to press as the game moved into injury time, Garner hitting a volley which was straight at Gerken.

Josh Emmanuel replaced Sears for the final moments of injury time as the Blues saw out the game out comfortably to record their first league win at Deepdale since January 1966, when they won 1-0, and their first victory in any competition there since a 3-0 FA Cup triumph in January 1980.

Preston will rue not taking their chances in their spell on top prior to Town’s against the run of play first goal, while the Blues will be disappointed with the home side’s equaliser.

After the break, the Blues always looked the more likely winners, although without creating too many chances before Fraser’s excellent winner.

Following Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie at Doncaster, Town’s next Championship opponents are Brighton at Portman Road next Saturday in what’s currently a battle of the division’s top two.

Preston: Pickford, Clarke, Huntington, Wright, Cunningham (Woods 32), Welsh, Kilkenny (Beckford 75), Johnson, Gallagher (Reid 82), Humphrey, Garner. Unused: Kirkland, Vermijl, Browne, Brownhill.

Town: Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Douglas, Fraser (Touré 85), Sears (Emmanuel 90), McGoldrick (Maitland-Niles 63), Pitman. Unused: Crowe, Kenlock, Tabb, Coke. Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire). Att: 12,330 (Town: 960).

Photo: Action Images

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rkl added 17:05 - Aug 22
So happy, up the Town!

muccletonjoe added 17:06 - Aug 22
not the best of first halves but definitely shaded the second half , well done mick , terry and all the lads

irish_tractor added 17:06 - Aug 22
And with every game that mings deal looks to be the masterstroke of the century. Well done lads. Keep it up lads I'm loving this season.

GTRKing added 17:07 - Aug 22
Let's keep it up gonna be a good season

essexbluey added 17:08 - Aug 22
Glad i made the long drive up from southend great result.
Come on you blues YES!

itfcsince1974 added 17:11 - Aug 22
Agreed Irish_tractor. MM has now built a really gutsy team. I don't think we would have won this last season. Many teams will drop points at deepdale this season. I'm glad to have it out of the way. It's a great time to be a town fan. COYB

1psw1ch added 17:12 - Aug 22
mick mc carthy is a hero ,what a result

pinewoodblueboy added 17:13 - Aug 22
Rode our luck in the first half, but 2nd half much better. Great result, next weekend top of the table clash. How does that sound fellow Blues. Well done.

jpring89 added 17:14 - Aug 22
We are invincible !!!!

LesTibbetsbrokenleg added 17:16 - Aug 22
Brilliant, well done Town.

tomitfc added 17:16 - Aug 22
E I E I E I O!! Get in huge win!

jas0999 added 17:17 - Aug 22
Excellent win. Sounds as though we were not at our best today, particularly in the first half. However, the sign of a promotion winning side is to win football matches, especially away from home, when not playing great. Still think there is an argument for Evans to build on this and free up some cash for a couple of new additions. The bench today lacked a little bit of experience, which although didn't cause any problem, still acts as a reminder that we could do with experienced defensive cover. I'm sure mick has this in hand. What a job he is doing! Massive game next Saturday now!

alljezer added 17:18 - Aug 22
Strengthen that defence MARCUS, and we are going up

ShropshireBluenago09 added 17:19 - Aug 22
Great win against a good side. We have great striking options these days and always a goal threat. Long way to go but looking fantastic at this early stage. No other team is challenging us either ATM.

bkitfc added 17:19 - Aug 22
I will take a victory any day no matter what the performance is like. Mick definitely did his magic again at half-time. Thank you Bournemouth for Pitman and Fraser. Let's keep this run going now. COYB!

kingburley4ever added 17:19 - Aug 22
2 goals every game so far, good solid start shame about draw at Brentford could have been 100% start.

RegencyBlue added 17:20 - Aug 22
Great win.

Squad still small but capable of dealing with changes much better than last season.

Long way to go but I'd rather have 10 points from 12 than be in the position some are in already!!

shaunkingitfc added 17:21 - Aug 22
I was at the game today We were trouble today but one good thing Ryan Fraser very good today 4 points coyb

TractorBoy85 added 17:21 - Aug 22
A great result, not many teams will be able to walk away with three points at Deepdale. We were dominated throughout majority of the game but we are not going to outplay every team we come up against this season. Promotion this season will require games like this, were we can grind out a win whether it's deserved or not. Fraiser is turning out to be a incredible addition to the team. it's nice going into every game knowing we can have a great chance of winning with this squad.


ianmarshall10 added 17:23 - Aug 22
Great result against a difficult Preston team...we are top of the league say we are to of the league!!!

ArnieM added 17:24 - Aug 22
COYFB'S. ............A point a away and 3 at home is formula for promotion, anything more is a bonus. Today was just....a Massive bonus given our record against one.

Top top result. Well played lads and 1000 travelling Town fans.

wkj added 17:25 - Aug 22
Dare we dream...

bluemikey100 added 17:25 - Aug 22
a brilliant team is a team thats wins when not playing well cmon town top table for rest of season

TimmyH added 17:27 - Aug 22
See the 'Bournemouth connection' is making it's presence felt already in a tight game we might not have won last season, arguably could have maximum points.

Great start to the season and to be honest thought we might start a little flat after the play-offs so all credit to Mick and the boys to start this well. A few more additions and I'd say we have a good chance of at least the play-offs!

Green_Army added 17:30 - Aug 22
No one remembers the performance only the result, another cracking win and three more points to add to the collection!

Could of been 12 points from 4 games though! COYB

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