Preston North End 2-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Friday, 19th Apr 2019 15:59
Callum Robinson has scored twice to give Preston North End a 2-0 half-time lead over the Blues at Deepdale.
Idris El Mizouni was handed his full debut and Corrie Ndaba was named on the senior side’s bench for the first time as manager Paul Lambert made four changes.
The Tunisia U23 international, 18, came into the side on the right of the front three with Kayden Jackson starting in place of Collin Quaner, who was left out of the 18. Will Keane was on the bench for the first time since suffering his hamstring injury at Wigan in February.
In midfield, Flynn Downes returned in place of Andre Dozzell, who was a substitute, while at the centre of the defence Toto Nsiala replaced James Collins, who was missing from the squad.
Jon Nolan was back on the bench having overcome his achilles injury, while there were no loanees in the XI but Keane was joined by Trevoh Chalobah and James Bree among the subs.
For Preston, Joe Rafferty was handed his debut with Callum Robinson and Sean Maguire returning to the starting line-up. Ex-Blues keeper Michael Crowe was on the bench.
The home side started the game the brighter, skipper Paul Gallagher hitting an early freekick into a Town wall, then in the third minute Maguire struck a low effort which Bartosz Bialkowski claimed with ease.
However, the Lilywhites only had to wait until the sixth minute before they went in front. Robinson was fed on the edge of the area where he turned Nsiala and smashed a shot to the static Bialkowski’s left as skipper Luke Chambers dived in to block.
Having gone behind the Blues briefly took the game to the home side but without creating an opportunity.
However, in the 13th minute Preston threatened again when Lukas Nmecha was played through on goal, however, Nsiala did well to get back to slide in and divert his shot wide.
North End went close again from the resultant corner, Gallagher’s ball in from the right reaching Ben Davies, whose header beat Bialkowski but struck the post before being hooked away.
Town subsequently began to pass the ball around with more confidence in a game being played in virtually a pre-season atmosphere at a warm and sunny Deepdale.
Downes shot over from distance on 18 after a promising El Mizouni ball in from the left had been cut out. Then on 21 Nsiala headed a Judge corner from the left to Declan Rudd in the Preston goal.
But in the 22nd minute the Lilywhites doubled their lead. Rafferty's cross from the right was headed away but only to Robinson on the left of the box from where he took a touch before shooting back across Bialkowski into the top corner of the net for his second goal of the game and his 13th of the season.
On 30 the teams went over to the touchline for a drinks break, adding to the game’s pre-season feel.
Five minutes later, a Chambers a looping header following a Judge corner on the left was cleared away from the line but with the Blues still not looking overly convincing.
A minute later Preston claimed a penalty when Nmecha went down as Chambers challenged but referee Stephen Martin waved away the protests which in the main came from the stands.
Preston had looked a big threat on the break all game with Nmecha getting behind the Blues’ backline on a number of occasions. This the on-loan Manchester City man did again on 37 before hitting his shot from the right of the box straight at Bialkowski, much the busier of the two keepers in the first half.
A minute later, Teddy Bishop hit a deflected shot through to Rudd, then on 43 the academy product turned his man on the edge of the area to the right before curling a shot just wide.
But the home side continued to present the more potent threat and in the final scheduled minute of the half went close again. Bialkowski did superbly to save Robinson’s shot but the ball looped into the air and reached Nmecha but the keeper had got back and was able to block his header as well.
In injury time a Downes shot was deflected over, then from the corner on the left taken by Judge seconds before the whistle Chambers headed goalwards but Rudd did well to palm the ball behind.
Town could hardly complain about the half-time scoreline with Preston having had chances to increase their lead with Nmecha not having made the most of his opportunities and Bialkowski having made his excellent late double save.
The Blues had found themselves behind before they had got going and even though they had had spells in control, had never really looked like getting back into the game.
Double-goalscorer Robinson may well have gone off at the break recalling last season’s corresponding fixture when he was one of two Preston players subbed in the 38th minute after Town, who went on to win the game 1-0, had dominated.
Preston: Rudd, Fisher, Davies, Storey, Rafferty, Ledson, Gallagher (c), Robinson, Johnson, Maguire, Nmecha. Subs: Crowe, Earl, Moult, Ginelly, Stockley, Huntington, O’Reilly.
Town: Bialkowski, Emmanuel, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Kenlock, Skuse, Bishop, Downes, El Mizouni, Judge, Jackson. Subs: Gerken, Chalobah, Nolan, Keane, Dozzell, Bree, Ndaba. Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).
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