Preston North End were beaten 1-0 by Blackburn Rovers, with Ben Brereton Diaz’s second-half header enough to earn the home side all three points.
There wasn’t too much goalmouth action to talk about in the first period, but Brereton Diaz opened the scoring shortly after half-time, heading home from six yards.
Frankie McAvoy was without Sepp van den Berg, Andrew Hughes and Tom Barkhuizen through injury, so in came Matthew Olosunde for his first team debut, while Jordan Storey, Greg Cunningham and Ched Evans were the other changes from the Fulham draw.
It was testing conditions right from the off at Ewood Park, with the standing water on the pitch holding the ball up in certain areas, and that showed when the ball fell to Alan Browne inside four minutes as he dragged an effort wide of goal.
Rovers’ first meaningful effort was arguably affected by the pitch too, with John Buckley’s shot from 12 yards rolling goalwards for Daniel Iversen to simply pick up.
The best chance of the half fell to Ched Evans on 34 minutes, as he got on the end of a smart corner routine, with Ben Whiteman finding the striker’s darting run towards the near post, but his shot was kept out by Aynsley Pears at the near post.
PNE probably went into the break feeling they had the better of the first half, but they found themselves behind eight minutes into the second period, as Brereton Diaz flicked a header just inside the far corner on the end of Reda Khadra’s cross.
North End had an opportunity to quickly reply with Whiteman sending a lovely inviting cross into the area from a wide free-kick, but it was just in front of the PNE men inside the box.
The away side in red could have had an even better chance to draw level on 83 minutes, with Josh Earl’s cross from the left striking the arm of Ryan Nyambe inside the box, but referee Gavin Ward waved away the appeals.
Goalscorer Brereton Diaz almost found his second before time was up, beating Liam Lindsay to make his way into the box, however Daniel Iversen showed a strong hand to stop his low effort from reacing the far corner.
Blackburn line-up: Pears; Lenihan, van Hecke, Wharton; Nyambe, Travis, Buckley (Johnson, 66), Rothwell (Edun, 85), Pickering; Khadra (Dolan, 77), Brereton. Subs not used: Eastham, Davenport, Butterworth, Clarkson.
PNE line-up: Iversen; Storey, Lindsay, Cunningham (Sinclair, 78); Olosunde (Ledson, 82), McCann (Johnson, 78), Whiteman, Browne, Earl; Evans, Riis. Subs not used: Hudson, Rafferty, Bauer, Maguire.
Referee: Mr G Ward.
Attendance: 18,487 (4,330 PNE fans)