Patrick Bauer’s goal on his return to Championship action earned Preston North End their first league victory of the campaign.
Bauer opened the scoring for PNE just 14 minutes into his first league appearance since picking up an Achilles injury in December 2020, heading home Ryan Ledson’s free-kick.
Team news revealed a blow for North End, with Alan Browne, Liam Lindsay and Ched Evans all missing through isolation, while Tom Barkhuizen continued his recovery from Covid.
Bauer was one of the men to come in and he scored with what was the first real chance of the game, with Ledson sending a brilliant cross into the box from a free-kick, and the returning German was there to head home.
North End then had three chances to double their lead within as many minutes around the half-hour mark. First it was skipper Daniel Johnson who came close, seeing a left-footed effort rise over the bar, before the woodwork then prevented Ben Whiteman from 20 yards, with the ball bouncing down off the underside of the bar, but staying out.
Moments later, a fantastic pass from Sepp van den Berg sent Scott Sinclair one-on-one with goalkeeper Christy Pym, but Peterborough’s No.1 came out on top.
PNE went into the break a goal ahead and were nearly made to pay for not taking those chances five minutes into the second half. Siriki Dembele broke into the home box and showed great feet to work himself into an area to take aim from just more than six yards, but van den Berg did superbly well to block on the line, before Jordan Storey and Andrew Hughes then threw themselves in front of follow-ups.
The Lilywhites then had two chances to double their lead in the same attack, with Sinclair firstly being denied by the feet of Pym, and Whiteman then struck a fierce half volley just wide.
Daniel Iversen was called into action on 60 minutes as he produced a superb save to keep out Jonson Clarke-Harris’ header, but the offside flag went up anyway.
Andrew Hughes then almost had a goal to his name against his former club as Ledson’s corner was headed back across goal at the far post by Bauer to Hughes, and he saw his header tipped over the bar.
In the 77th minute, substitute Emil Riis went on a powerful run down the left and did so well to beat his man twice on his way to goal, but he couldn’t quite finish it off, seeing Pym save his low strike.
DJ and Brad Potts were denied in stoppage time with chances that might have killed the game off, and Iversen had to produce a brilliant save to deny Clarke-Harris in the final action of the match before the referee blew his whistle to confirm a well-deserved PNE victory.
PNE line-up: Iversen; Storey, Bauer, Hughes; van den Berg, Whiteman, Ledson, Johnson, Earl; Maguire (Potts, 79), Sinclair (Riis, 69).
Subs not used: Rudd, Cunningham, Bayliss, Rafferty, Rodwell-Grant.
Peterborough line-up: Pym; Kent, Thompson, Knight (Randall); Ward, Norburn, Grant, Burrows (Szmodics, 66), Butler; Dembele (Marriott, 66), Clarke-Harris.
Subs not used: Cornell, Edwards, Tomlinson, Barker.
Referee: Mr D Whitestone
Attendance: 9,952 (690 away fans)