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Match Reports

Preston North End 0 Norwich City 0

21 April 2018

The Lilywhites left everything on the Deepdale pitch, but could not break down a stubborn Norwich City at Deepdale, despite the visitors failing to register a shot on target.

The game ended goalless, with Paul Gallagher going closest to breaking the deadlock just before the half hour mark, hitting the underside of the cross bar from just 20 yards and particularly in the second half chances flowed, but they could not grab that all important goal.

Manager Alex Neil had made just one change prior to kick-off, Paul Gallagher returning to the side in place of Daniel Johnson and the midfielder pulled the strings in the opening 45 minutes.

With ten minutes on the clock he threaded a ball through the heart of the Canaries’ backline to find Callum Robinson racing through past Grant Hanley, but Angus Gunn did tremendously well to come out and smother at the feet of the No.37… just!

On the 28 minute mark Billy Bodin made an excellent run down the middle of the pitch, dancing past three tackles only for Scottish international Grant Hanley to rugby tackle him to the floor just to the left of the D, 20 yards from goal.

From the resulting free kick, the Welshman laid the ball off to Gallagher, who hit a powerful and sweet shot that beat the wall and Gunn, coming off the underside of the bar, bouncing down and after a number of scrambled headers, away to safety.

Having been forced to make on change at half-time, with Paul Huntington off with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Ben Davies, the manager also decided to make an early double change, Sean Maguire and Josh Harrop brought on and the two were effective immediately.

On the hour mark a brilliant last ditch tackle from Timm Klose denied Harrop the opening goal, as he slid in to deny the attacker after Maguire and the No.10 had broken on the counter attack as pace, the Irishman threading the ball into Harrop, only for the German to make a fine stop.

The two best chance came with just under 15 minutes to go. Firstly another positive break by PNE down the left saw Robinson get some space and pulls the ball across and to find Bodin at the back post, he set himself on his left foot, but curled the ball just wide of the left hand post from 15 yards.

And less than 90 seconds later another run from Robinson this time saw him check back onto his right foot and deliver to just to the right of the penalty spot where Maguire found time and space with a free header, but he couldn’t keep the ball down.

The side continued to press, Clarke, who had played for over 30 minutes with a hamstring injury, added himself to the forward line in the five minutes of stoppage time, but the goal could not be forced, although the gap to the Play-Offs was reduced to two points due to results elsewhere.

PNE line-up: Rudd, Fisher, Cunningham, Pearson, Clarke (c), Huntington (Davies, 46), Bodin, Gallagher (Harrop, 53), Robinson, Browne, Barkhuizen (Maguire, 54). Subs not used: Maxwell, Johnson, Moult, Earl.

Norwich City line-up: Gunn, Reed, Vrancic, Leitner (Hernandez, 77), Murphy (Pinto, 90), Klose, Maddison, Lewis, Tettey (c), Hanley, Srbeny (Oliveira, 73). Subs not used: McGovern, Husband, Hoolahan, Raggett.

Attendance: 13,038 (697 Norwich City fans)

Referee: Mr G Eltringham


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