PNE 1 Crawley Town 0
A lone goal from Joe Garner inside the first 15 minutes was enough to give North End another three points at Deepdale.
Garner's 23rd of the season gave the Lilywhites the lead with another header goal before the quarter hour mark, meeting Keith Keane’s right wing cross and despite chances to add to the total, it remained 1-0.
Manager Simon Grayson, without Scott Wiseman, also left out Bailey Wright, Keith Keane and the returning Tom Clarke in the back four, with Lee Holmes onto the wing in place of Chris Humphrey – both Wright and the PNE No.7 dropping to the bench.
The home side started brightly and an early corner from Holmes came out to Paul Gallagher in the back left hand corner of the box. On the volley the forward shot back in taking a slight deflection from visiting skipper Josh Simpson – the ball flying inches wide for a corner. The cross then came in to Stuart Beavon, who twisted and flashed the ball across the goal just three yards out, but no-one was there to tap home.
However, they were ahead on 13 minutes. Holmes again went down the left, before laying the ball back to Keith Keane for quick cross, which found an unmarked Joe Garner who powered a header down into the bottom left hand corner from 12 yards out for his 23rd goal of the season.
Five minutes later a cross from Holmes on right with his right foot came out to Neil Kilkenny, but he scuffed shot from the edge of the ‘D’ wide left.
With 20 minutes left in the opening period Garner saw a shot blocked after twisting and turning in box, Holmes freed him with a pass from midfield.
Just before the break Gallagher dinked a cross to the back post to where Garner was waiting, but he headed over, following a simple three pass build up.
Less than two minutes into the second half and Garner had a great chance to double his and PNE’s total as Beavon headed on another header from skipper Welsh, the linesman’s flag stayed down, but the in-form front man scuffed his shot 10 yards out when clean through.
Stuart Beavon was inches away from joining his strike partner on the scoresheet in the 58th minute, a flick header from Holmes’ inswinging cross just past the left hand post with Paul Jones beaten.
With 20 minutes gone in the second period a brilliant stop from Crawley No.1 Paul Jones denied Garner a second. A ball in from John Welsh found an excellent run from his top scorer, who chested the ball down and smashed a volley goalwards that was saved by the toe end of Jones’ boot.
A wonderful save from Jones again denied Holmes a goal from a free kick just a yard outside the box after Walsh had upended Welsh and gone into the book for his late foul with 11 minutes left.
Three minutes of time was added on by match official David Webb, but it remained 1-0 and six points from two home games for the Lilywhites.
: Rudd, Keane, Buchanan, Kilkenny (Browne, 66), Clarke, King, Holmes, Welsh, Garner, Beavon (C Davies, 86), Gallagher (Humphrey, 75). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Laird, Wright, K Davies, C Davies.PNE line-up
: P Jones, Sadler, M Connolly, B Clarke, Torres, Drury, Simpson, Walsh, Proctor, Bulman (Monakana, 77), M Jones. Subs not used: Fallon, Kaikai, Boateng, Maddison, Edwards, Dicker.Crawley Town line-up
: 8,979 (122 away fans)Attendance
: Mr D WebbReferee