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Match Reports

Millwall 1 Preston North End 3

23 February 2019

A stunning first half display from North End saw them record four consecutive away wins for the first time since the days of Sir Tom Finney.

Goals from Andrew Hughes, returning skipper Tom Clarke and Sean Maguire put them out of sight by half-time, with Millwall eventually dispatched 3-1; substitute Ben Thompson grabbing a second half consolation.
 
Manager Alex Neil was forced into one change, with club captain Clarke back into the side at right back, in the absence of Darnell Fisher, who had a slight knock that ruled him out, but the change did not hinder the Lilywhites’ early progress.
 
It was another blistering start from the away side as Paul Gallagher sent Sean Maguire down the left-hand side; he lifted a ball to the back post where Tom Barkhuizen was racing in, who volleyed on target, only for Jake Cooper to make a superb block on the line to deny a second minute opener for the side in green.
 
However, that respite for the Lions lasted 30 seconds, as Gallagher delivered a right-wing free kick, after Ben Pearson had been pulled back, and Jordan Storey headed it down for Andrew Hughes, who miss-hit his left foot effort, but superbly volleyed his right foot effort into the bottom left hand corner of Jordan Archer’s goal.
 
On 16 minutes it was two. A Gallagher corner from the right flashed straight through the penalty area and bounced up perfectly for the returning Clarke, who powered a header through the crowd into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal.
And it was 3-0 before the half hour mark and it came from a stunning assist again from Gallagher. The ball had ricocheted around the middle of the Lions half until it fell to the No.12 45 yards out; he cushioned a volleyed pass through the middle for Maguire to run on to, and the Irishman superbly deftly dinked the ball over an out-rushing Archer to put the ball into the empty net on 27 minutes.
Neil Harris made a double-change at the break, Steve Morison and Shane Ferguson replacing Murray Wallace and Tom Elliott in an aim to get a foothold back in the game.
 
And it was Ferguson who brought about the first dangerous effort of the second period, just before the hour mark, when a spell of Millwall pressure saw the ball worked out to the winger on the left, but his drilled shot across the face of goal flashed past the right-hand post.
 
On 64 minutes Archer kept his side’s deficit at only three with a superb save to deny Brad Potts, who had burst onto Barkhuizen’s through ball and closed down on the penalty area, before unleashing a powerful low drive, that the keeper did superbly to get down and tip around the post for a corner.
 
Another substitute came on and had an immediate impact. Ben Thompson replaced Ryan Leonard in the 66th minute and with his first touch he was on hand to slam home from six yards out after Morison’s back header from Jed Wallace’s left-wing cross.
 
An unbelievable reaction save from Declan Rudd denied Jed Wallace’s deflected shot a goal and then the ball came back out and off Lee Gregory, the ball going inches past the right hand upright and thankfully wide from a North End perspective.
 
However, there were no more threats on the goal as PNE made it 12 points from their last quartet of games away from Deepdale.
 
Millwall line-up: Archer, Hutchinson (c), Cooper, Williams, J Wallace, Gregory, Romeo, Elliott (Morison, 46), M Wallace (Ferguson, 46), Leonard (Thompson, 66), Marshall. Subs not used: Martin, Onyedinma, Pearce, O’Brien.
 
PNE line-up: Rudd, Clarke (c), Hughes, Pearson, Storey, Davies, Barkhuizen (Johnson, 72), Gallagher (Nmecha, 72), Maguire, Browne, Potts (Ledson, 90). Subs not used: Crowe, Earl, Rafferty, Stockley.
 
Attendance: TBC (TBC PNE fans)
 
Referee: Mr S Martin

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