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Match Report


Posted Tue 30 Jun 15 at 22:54 PM

A brilliant strike from Ryan Fraser kept Town top of the Championship table with victory at Deepdale. 

The Scotland U21 international smashed in his second goal since joining the Club on loan from Bournemouth in the summer to give Blues a first win at Preston since 1980.

Brett Pitman gave Town the lead with his first goal for the Club but North End were level before the break through Daniel Johnson.

Blues were much improved in the second-half and Fraser, who became an increasing threat, won the game with a 25 yard blast midway through the second-half to end Preston’s unbeaten start to the Championship season and make it three wins and a draw for Blues in an impressive opening four games of the campaign.  

Dean Gerken came in for his first League start of the season, replacing Bart Bialkowski who was withdrawn from the squad for family reasons. David McGoldrick and Pitman were also handed their first Championship appearances from kick-off this campaign. 

Jonas Knudsen’s intervention to get in the way of Chris Humphrey’s goalbound strike prevented Gerken being called into action on six minutes, Paul Huntington then heading over from a corner. 

Knudsen did well again to stop the pacy Humphrey getting on the end of Neil Kilkenny’s pass, Joe Garner going close moments later from Paul Gallagher’s dangerous free-kick. 

Gerken beat out Gallagher’s fierce right foot strike as Preston threatened an early breakthrough, the Town ‘keeper having a much easier time dealing with Garner’s half hit shot on the turn.

Humphrey wasted a great chance midway through the half, Greg Cunningham’s long pass fell to the winger’s feet inside the box but he failed to trouble Gerken and North End were made to pay seconds later when Pitman guided in Freddie Sears’ cross to give Blues the lead on 27 minutes. 

Town’s advantage lasted only 10 minutes though, a sweeping counter attack from the home side saw Humphrey set Johnson clear and he made no mistake from 15 yards. 

Blues responded with Sears forcing a save from Jordan Pickford after Cole Skuse’s excellent pass, then McGoldrick was crowded out inside the box as Town finished a first-half that was mainly dictated by the home side.

Fraser escaped the North End defence for the first time in the opening moments of the second-half, his terrific run and cross almost creating an opportunity for the lurking Sears at the far post.

Pitman was then denied on the edge of the box by Huntington’s challenge as Blues began the half much more on the front foot, Pitman sending Fraser’s corner back into the box where Tom Clarke hacked clear.

Preston were at full stretch to clear their lines again from Knudsen’s cross, McGoldrick showing a great touch to take Sears’ knock-on in his path, sending a right footer just over. 

The striker made way for Ainsley Maitland-Niles soon after in Town’s first change and on 65 minutes, Mick McCarthy’s side were ahead - Fraser scoring with a sublime right foot effort in front of the Blue Army.

Gerken had to be alert to beat out Clarke’s effort, then Knudsen blocked the rebound, the Town ‘keeper doing even better to keep out Garner from point blank range as Blues kept the lead intact to end that 35 year wait for victory at Deepdale. 

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