Report: PNE 2 Blues 0

Gary Gardner has a headed attempt on goal
Gary Gardner has a headed attempt on goal

The visitors had decent chances of their own, with Gary Gardner seeing his neat volley pushed over and Harlee Dean heading straight at the Preston 'keeper.


Blues were disappointingly beaten by Preston North End at the Deepdale Stadium in their penultimate game of the 2019/20 campaign.

Preston struck twice without reply with a goal coming at the end of each half.

Patrick Bauer bagged the opener just before half-time, before Brad Potts doubled his team's advantage with an 87th minute finish.

The visitors had decent chances of their own, with Gary Gardner seeing his neat volley pushed over and Harlee Dean heading straight at the Preston 'keeper.

There was just a single change to the Blues starting XI with Jude Bellingham replacing Jeremie Bela, who dropped to the subs' bench.

Blues made a decent start to the game and won a series of corners in the early exchanges.

But they were almost caught out after Stockley was put through on the Blues goal, but he slammed his shot over the bar.

Blues were somewhat fortunate not to concede a penalty after Bellingham appeared to catch Harrop's ankle just inside his area, but referee Stephen Martin waved away the home side's loud protestations.

Blues got the ball into Preston box several times, but it didn't quite drop for them.

But they were not far away from opening their account after Bellingham swung in a dangerous corner, which was met by Gardner.

Unfortunately, his firm header was just off target and flew into the side netting of the goal.

Just after the half-hour mark Blues won a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the Preston area.

Bellingham floated in the ball, but it was finally cleared away from the dange zone after pinballing around the penalty area.

Preston then won a free-kick of their own in a similar position at the other end of the pitch, but Gallagher's direct effort was just high and to the right.

The same Preston player then tried his luck from a good 30 yards but again it was off target.

Blues were holding their shape reasonably well and were coping with Preston's attacking pressure.

That was until the 43rd minute when they should have done much better to prevent Preston's opener.

Gallagher sent in a corner and Bauer beat Dean to the ball and he was able side foot it home from just seven yards.

Then in the remaining few seconds of stoppage time at the end of the half, Camp was forced to save from Stockley.

Half-time: PNE 1 Blues 0

Less than 20 seconds into the second-half Preston broke with pace and Camp needed to be alert to save from Harrop.

Gardner showed brilliant technique to hit a sweet goalbound volley from the left of the area, but Rudd was equal to it and tipped it over the bar.

Blues than had two great chances within a matter of seconds.

Dan Crowley sent in a cross from the right, but Harlee Dean headed it straight at the 'keeper.

Then from the rebound Bellingham lashed his shot well wide.

The game was really opening now with both sides going for it and Camp was forced to save from Stockley.

Blues made their first substitution of the game just after the hour mark when Bela replaced Ivan Sunjic in midfield. Caolan Boyd-Munce then joined the fray in place of Crowley.

With 15 minutes remaining Blues were continuing to press and Maxime Colin blasted his shot over the bar after being teed up from a free-kick.

With 10 minutes of normal time remaining Blues were piling on the pressure in search of an equaliser, but they were just lacking that killer cross or pass.

And despite plenty of endeavour the game was put beyond them on 87 minutes when Potts lashed the ball across the front of Camp and into the bottom right hand corner.

Blues now head into their final game of the season next Wednesday at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy, when Derby County are the visitors.

PNE: Rudd, Harrop (Maguire, 77), Johnson (Barkhuizen, 78), Gallagher, Storey, Rafferty, Hughes, Ledson, Stockley, Bauer, Potts.
Subs (not used): Hudson, Fisher, Huntington, Browne, Bodin, Sinclair, Nugent.

Bookings: Harrop (21), Gallagher (52).

Goals: Bauer (43), Potts (87)

Blues: Camp, Pedersen, Roberts, Dean, Colin, Gardner, Sunjic (Bela, 61), Crowley (Boyd-Munce, 71), Bellingham, Hogan (Reid, 82), Jutkiewicz.
Subs (not used): Trueman, Harding, Gordon, Burke, Kieftenbeld, Fernandez.

Bookings: Sunjic (28), Bellingham (67).

Goals: None.

Referee: Stephen Martin.