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Match Reports

Preston North End 2 Hull City 1

3 February 2018

The Lilywhites came from behind to make it back to back wins, with a 2-1 triumph at home to Hull City.

Goals from Greg Cunningham and a penalty from Alan Browne made it just one defeat in 14 games, as Alex Neil’s men moved up to seventh in the Championship.

A deflected strike from Jarrod Bowen had put the Tigers in front just before the half hour mark, but the lead lasted only seven minutes as Cunningham powered a header home from Paul Gallagher’s superb corner.

Billy Bodin was then upended in the box for the second game in succession, Fraizer Campbell bringing down the North End winger, and Alan Browne stepped up to calmly send Allan McGregor the wrong way from the spot.

There was just one change from the side that beat Nottingham Forest just a few days earlier, Greg Cunningham returning from injury at left back, with Josh Earl dropping to the bench.

The game had a slow start, with neither side threatening too much, but the best of the early chances came for North End just before Nigel Adkins’ side scored.

Some good good build up play in the 28th minutes saw Ben Pearson, Gallagher and Darnell Fisher working the ball well to Callum Robinson on the edge of the box. The No.37 was playing in the striking role and he held off Michael Hector, turned and shot just wide of the right hand post from 20 yards.

But less than 60 seconds City went ahead with what proved to be their only shot on target of the game.

A quickly taken free kick on the left free Jackson Irvine, who raced into the middle of the park before playing a good ball out to the right hand channel to find the run of Bowen. The winger, who also scored against PNE in the reverse fixture at the KCOM Stadium back in September, fired in a shot that took an unfortunate deflection Cunningham, looping it past Declan Rudd – making his first start at Deepdale since May 2014 – and into left hand side of the goal.

The home side’s best spell came in the time before and half-time and they worked extremely hard to go in at half-time ahead.

A Robinson shot on the left hand corner of the box off new Hull signing Angus MacDonald brought a corner and after a second was won by a deflected header from Tom Clarke and this time the right hand cross in front of the away fans from Gallagher found the excellent movement of Cunningham 12 yards out and he powered a header into the top left hand corner of the goal.

And they went in front in the final minute before the break. Bill Bodin had collected a ball on the right and fired a hard low shot towards the corner of the goal, but McGregor saved well with his legs, however, it only came back to the No.39 who shifted the ball out of his feet and therefore when Fraizer Campbell came flying in, the winger was upended and referee Steve Martin had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.

The visiting players protested, but replays clearly vindicated the match official and Browne then stepped up and calmly sent the Scottish international keeper the wrong way, putting the ball into the inside side-netting  of the right hand side of the goal. The Hull No.1 was in superb form after the break as he prevented North End from getting out of site. Just after the hour mark he denied Browne a second, after Fisher collected Gallagher’s ball out to the right hand side, checked inside past a defender before drilling the ball into Browne, who had his back to goal, but spun, turned and shot, only for the keeper to get low down to his left to deny the Irishman a second and North End a third.

And he used his legs on 65 minutes to this time deny Robinson. Browne was again involved, this time popping up down the right hand side and crossing into the box for a snap shot from the man who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Friday, McGregor doing brilliantly to get something behind it and clear to safety.

Tom Barkhuizen followed up his display at Nottingham Forest with another strong running performance and with 19 minutes he go he raced through from half way, all the way into the box, but again Hector did well to come across and just stop a shot right at the last second.

The visitors made three attacking changes in the closing stages and pumped a number of balls into the box, but never really threatened the returning Rudd and it became the Lilywhites’ 12th win of the season.

PNE line-up: Rudd, Fisher, Cunningham, Pearson (Harrop, 76), Clarke (c), Huntington, Bodin, Gallagher (Johnson, 69), Robinson (Moult, 79), Browne, Barkhuizen. Subs not used: Maxwell, Horgan, Spurr, Earl.

Hull City line-up: McGregor, Irvine, Hector, Meyler (Evandro, 68), Dicko (Keane, 74), Larsson (c), Bowen, Clark, Campbell (Wilson, 68), Aina, MacDonald. Subs not used: Marshall, Diomande, Tomori, Stewart.

Attendance:  11,605 (601 Hull City fans)

Referee: Mr S Martin

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