Cameron Archer’s goal in first-half stoppage time earned Preston North End a 1-0 victory in the Lancashire derby at Deepdale.
Archer scored the one and only goal of the night, netting his sixth strike in a PNE shirt by firing into the far corner to beat Chris Maxwell and ultimately win the game for his side.
Ryan Lowe made three changes from the weekend’s defeat, with Brad Potts, Greg Cunningham and Sepp van den Berg all coming into the side.
It was almost a full house at Deepdale as North End fans celebrated the 100th birthday of the late Sir Tom Finney, while goalkeeper Declan Rudd – who announced his retirement last week – was presented to the supporters prior to the game.
The match itself started at the pace you would expect from a derby, but there was a ten-minute stoppage not long into the fixture with goalkeeper Daniel Grimshaw requiring treatment, and he needed to be replaced by Maxwell.
Once the game restarted, North End almost took the lead on 25 minutes, as Andrew Hughes headed Ben Whiteman’s corner against the crossbar.
Ten minutes later the woodwork was struck again by the home side, this time with Brad Potts seeing a cross deflected on to the top of the bar, and the ball looked to be falling kindly for Alan Browne, but he lost his footing at the vital moment and couldn’t quite get the required connection.
At the other end, Brad Potts came up with a vital block at point-blank range to stop Callum Connolly’s volley on the end of a corner causing any trouble.
The volume was cranked up inside Deepdale three minutes into the 11 added on as Archer gave his side the lead, with Emil Riis finding the Aston Villa loanee with a brilliant sliding pass, and he struck hard and low to find the far corner.
North End went into the break a goal to the good and, after little in the way of chances in the opening stages of the second period, on 69 minutes the hosts went close, as Ben Whiteman’s free-kick came back out to the No.4 and he curled an effort just wide of the post.
Whiteman was involved again late on as he struck goalwards and the Lilywhites had a big shout for a penalty with the crowd inside Deepdale appealing for a handball against the visiting defender, but the referee waved away appeals.
Keshi Anderson had a late effort for the Seasiders, with a free-kick on the edge of the box going just over the bar, and PNE saw out the game for a big three points against their Lancashire rivals.
PNE line-up: Iversen; van den Berg, Bauer, Hughes; Potts, Whiteman, Browne, Johnson, Cunningham (McCann, 73); Riis, Archer. Subs not used: Ripley, Diaby, Earl, Murphy, Maguire, Sinclair.
Blackpool line-up: Grimshaw (Maxwell, 20); Connolly, Ekpiteta, Keogh, Husband; Dougall (Virtue, 82), Robson; Bowler, Anderson, Hamilton (Lavery, 64); Madine (Yates, 77). Subs not used: James, Dale, Thorniley.
Attendance: 18,740 (2,153 away fans).
Referee: Mr D Webb.