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Match Reports

Match Report: PNE 1 Bristol City 2

4 February 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: PNE 1 Bristol City 2

4 February 2023

Preston North End couldn’t recover from two Bristol City goals in the first half, as the Robins left Deepdale with a 2-1 victory.

Mark Sykes opened the scoring in the early stages before Sam Bell doubled his side’s lead with the final kick of the first half.

Ched Evans halved the deficit for PNE on 61 minutes, capitalising on a mistake from goalkeeper Max O’Leary, and North End created plenty of chances from that point, but they couldn’t find the all-important equaliser.

Ryan Lowe made one change from the Emirates FA Cup defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, with Liam Delap returning in place of Ben Whiteman, while there was a place on the bench for deadline day signing Josh Onomah.

PNE had made a bright start to the game – on the front foot from the off – and could have taken the lead on five minutes when Alan Browne found Tom Cannon with a searching cross, which the striker met with his head but it was saved by Max O’Leary.

Then, within 60 seconds, the visitors went ahead after Robbie Brady’s pass back to Freddie Woodman was intercepted by Sykes, who took it past the goalkeeper and rolled the ball into the empty net.

North End almost responded instantaneously through skipper Browne, but his beautifully-struck left-footed volley was gathered by O’Leary.

The Bristol City shot-stopper thwarted PNE again on the half-hour mark when Brady sent a deep cross into the area, which was well won by Browne, and Evans’ flicked header from six yards was swatted away by the ‘keeper.

It looked as though the sides would go into the break at 1-0, but the Robins doubled their lead in the third minute of stoppage-time when Alex Scott sent Nahki Wells down the right, and he drilled the ball across goal for Bell to tap home.

Cannon came so close to pulling one back for PNE on 49 minutes when he got on the end of Evans’ knockdown header, and he couldn’t have struck his first-time effort much better, but again O’Leary came out on top, diving to his left and tipping wide.

The goalkeeper didn’t properly deal with Ledson’s long-range strike just after the hour mark, though, as the ball bounced off his chest and Evans was quickest to pounce on the loose ball to halve the deficit for his side.

Ledson was involved again on 75 minutes when he sent a fantastic, searching ball through for Delap, who took the ball down well before a visiting defender got a crucial touch to deny the striker an effort at goal.

In the next attack, Cannon found Brady at the back post on the edge of the six-yard box, but he couldn’t direct his header at goal.

North End kept looking for the equaliser – bringing Álvaro Fernández, Brad Potts and Onomah on in a triple change – but the goal didn’t arrive and PNE were beaten at Deepdale.

PNE line-up: Woodman; Storey, Lindsay (Cunningham, 45), Hughes; Browne (Potts, 82), McCann, Ledson (Onomah, 81), Brady (Fernández, 82); Cannon, Evans, Delap. Subs not used: Cornell, Johnson, Woodburn.

Bristol City line-up: O’Leary; Tanner (Kalas, 68), Vyner, Atkinson, Pring; James, Naismith (Williams, 31); Sykes, Scott, Bell (Weimann, 88); Wells (Cornick, 68). Subs not used: Haikin, Dasilva, Mehmeti.

Attendance: 14,261 (804 Bristol City fans).

Referee: Mr L Doughty.

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