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Match Reports

Preston North End 0 Millwall 2

28 October 2020

Preston North End were left frustrated by Millwall, who scored twice in the second half to take the points at Deepdale.

Kenneth Zohore and a late penalty from Jed Wallace gave the Lions the win in what was a game of very few chances.

Manager Alex Neil had selected the same starting XI for the third game in a row, but revealed afterwards that a number of his squad had been ill in the lead up the game, making his decision a tough one.

The players – who had all taken precautionary Covid tests, returning negative results – had declared themselves fit, but neither they nor their opponents exerted too much pressure on each other in the opening 45 minutes.

The only time either goalkeeper was called into action in the first half was when Declan Rudd was needed to tip Mason Bennett’s 25 yard effort over the bar with seven minutes to go.

At the break, one of those players who had been struggling before the game – Patrick Bauer – had to be replaced by Paul Huntington, but the Lilywhites started the half on the front foot, Daniel Johnson winning a corner and Andrew Hughes getting his head on Ryan Ledson’s flag kick, only for Murray Wallace to get in a block.

But the visitors, led by captain Alex Pearce, in the absence of Gary Rowett and his first team coaching staff, took the lead on 54 minutes when they broke and Jed Wallace got space down the right to cross for Zohore to fire home from ten yards out.

With only two changes left, Alex Neil added Josh Harrop and Tom Barkhuizen into the attacking options – Ledson and Potts making way – and the latter had the best chance to draw his side level, at the half’s mid-point.

A superb ball from Johnson, in behind and between the two Millwall centre halves, found the run of Barkhuizen, who chested the ball into his path, but his effort to lift the ball over Bialkowski was on the stretch and this allowed the ’keeper to smother the ball away to safety.

And with seven minutes left the game was put out of reach when Wallace seemed to just fall over in the penalty area when trying to shoot and referee Darren Bond somehow decided that Barkhuizen had fouled the winger, when in fact, if anything, he had been kicked by the visiting player!

Wallace himself got up and sent Declan Rudd the wrong wat from 12 yards, firing into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal to make it 2-0 and take the points.

PNE line-up: Rudd, Rafferty, Hughes, Ledson (Barkhuizen, 64), Bauer (Huntington, 46), Storey, Sinclair, Browne (c), Riis, Johnson, Potts (Harrop, 55). Subs not used: Ripley, Earl, Stockley, Maguire.

Millwall line-up: Bialkowski, M Wallace, Hutchinson (c), Cooper, J Wallace, Romeo, Zohore (Bradshaw, 75), Malone, Leonard, Woods, Bennett (Bodvarsson, 72). Subs not used: Fielding, Thompson, Smith, Ferguson, Mahoney.

Referee: Mr D Bond

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