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Match Report: PNE 3 Coventry City 2

4 November 2023

Preston North End secured a 2,000th league victory in club history courtesy of an entertaining 3-2 home win over Coventry City.

The Lilywhites went behind in the 33rd minute as Haji Wright put the visitors ahead against the run of play, but Duane Holmes soon levelled matters with a great finish.

Alan Browne then put his side in front a few minutes later from the penalty spot, before Milutin Osmajić extended North End’s advantage with a close-range header in the second half.

Wright scored his second of the afternoon with seven minutes left on the clock, but North End held on for a historic victory.

Ryan Lowe made three changes from the defeat to Hull City, as Kian Best, Mads Frøkjær and Osmajić came into the starting XI.

North End were the team on top in the early stages, putting plenty of pressure on the Coventry backline and came close to breaking the deadlock on a couple of occasions through Osmajić and Liam Lindsay.

Skipper Browne then tried his luck in the 17th minute and it looked like it might be a comfortable stop for Ben Wilson in goal, but the ‘keeper spilled the effort and was relieved to see it drop just wide.

It was pretty much all North End in terms of opportunities, however the visitors took the front just after the half-hour mark. A cross was only half-cleared by Jordan Storey and found Matty Godden whose effort was superbly saved by Freddie Woodman, but it fell kindly for Wright who tapped home, despite appearing offside.


PNE drew level just five minutes later, though, as a headed clearance landed at the feet of Holmes, and the American took a touch before sending a brilliant low effort into the bottom corner.

Then, a few moments on, Anthony Taylor pointed to the penalty spot as he judged Kyle McFadzean to have brought Osmajić down as he charged through on goal. Browne took the responsibility and stayed calm from 12 yards to complete a quickfire turnaround.

Montenegrin Osmajić could have got on the scoresheet himself in the final action of the half as he connected with Brad Potts’ cross from the right, but his touch took it just over the bar.

After the break, the Sky Blues enjoyed a positive spell, with half-time substitute Ellis Simms and midfielder Ben Sheaf calling Woodman into action.

PNE were soon back at it, though, and gave themselves a bit of breathing space in the 71st minute as the influential Liam Millar landed an inch-perfect cross right onto the head of Osmajić, who nodded home from six yards.

That two-goal cushion was halved seven minutes from time as another great Woodman stop – this time to deny Josh Eccles – again fell straight to the feet of Wright for a tap-in.

In the second of six added minutes, Wright might have scored a hat-trick to earn a point if it wasn't for a goal-saving block at close quarters from Jordan Storey, and North End navigated the remaining minutes to seal a first victory in eight.

PNE line-up: Woodman; Potts, Storey, Lindsay, Best (Brady, 77); Whiteman, Browne; Holmes (Woodburn, 85), Frøkjær (Evans, 68), Millar; Osmajić (Keane, 85). Subs not used: Cornell, Bauer, Stewart, Ledson, Mawene.

Coventry City line-up: Wilson; Thomas, McFadzean (Eccles, 45), Kitching; Latibeaudiere, Allen (O’Hare, 60), Sheaf, Ayari (Simms, 45), Dasilva (Bidwell, 60); Godden (Van Ewijk, 83), Wright. Subs not used: Collins, Binks, Sakamoto, Stretton.

Attendance: 16,716 (2,982 Coventry fans).

Referee: Mr A Taylor.

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