Match report: PNE 1 Nottingham Forest 0

PNE manager Simon Grayson
PNE manager Simon Grayson
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Preston North End collected their first win at Deepdale in the Championship this season, Eoin Doyle's early goal proving enough to take the points.

But the nervous Lilywhites were pushed all the way by a slick-passing Nottingham Forest side, with them spending much of the second half on the retreat.

Doyle struck with one minute and 50 seconds on the clock, shooting home at the far post after Daniel Johnson's initial effort had been saved.

It was an advantage which they managed to keep hold of despite lots of visitors pressure after the break.

Victory extended their unbeaten run to five matches and they have not conceded a goal in that run.

North End manager Simon Grayson had stuck with an unchanged starting XI and bench from that which was on show for the goalless draw with Bolton on Saturday.

The game started at a frantic pace, Ryan Mendes sliding a pass through to release Ben Osborn down the side of the PNE box.

Osborn got a shot away but Jordan Pickford was equal to it, blocking with his legs at the near post.

North End broke away up field from that escape and had the ball in the net to open the scoring within 20 seconds.

The ball came over to the left side of the box, Johnson's shot pushed out by keeper Dorus De Vries.

Doyle was the first to rebound, getting the ball out of his feet before shooting through De Vries legs from inside the six-yard box.

Soon after, Joe Garner scooped a first-time shot over the bar after being found by an Adam Reach cross.

Another Reach centre set up Garner with eight minutes gone, this time the striker putting a header inches over the bar.

As the first half went on, North End started giving the ball away in midfield, giving Forest the chance to counter-attack.

Mendes put a shot wide from outside the box, while a curling shot from Jamie Ward was tipped behind by Pickford diving to his right.

Garner was so close to doubling the advantage, his left-foot shot at the back post travelling inches the wrong side of the target.

Pickford positioned himself well behind a shot from Nelson Oliveira, enabling him to gather comfortably.

Oliveira later escaped the attention of the North End defence to get down the side of the box, only to pull his low shot across goal and well wide of the far post.

There was a big let-off for Preston in the 38th minute, a badly-worked free-kick routine gifting possession to the visitors.

Forest broke down away down the inside-right channel, Ward coming inside and seeing his shot clip the top of the bar and go behind.

It was not all Forest though as half-time approached, Paul Gallagher driving a first-time shot too high after being found by Johnson's lay-off.

Then in the first minute of stoppage-time, Gallagher's quickly-taken free-kick found Marnick Vermijl on the right-wing.

Vermijl whipped over a cross on the run which Garner met with a header, one which De Vries dived to his right to parry at full stretch.

It was Forest on the front foot after the interval, putting a lot of pressure on North End with some good passing movement.

In response, Grayson put on John Welsh for Alan Browne in the 57th minute in an attempt to stiffen the midfield where the hosts were basically being overrun.

Welsh coming on saw North End switch from 3-5-2 to more of a 4-5-1 system, Doyle coming wide to play on the right.

Soon after, Forest made a double change, Mendes and Jorge Grant replaced by Jonny Williams and Tyler Walker.

In Mendes, the game's best player went off, the Cape Verde international having been behind much of what the visitors had done.

North End relieved the pressure slightly with a couple of chances in quick succession.

Garner's shot on the half-turn from 20 yards was held at the second attempt by De Vries.

Then Johnson put a shot high over the bar and into the Town End after Doyle's pass had found him in space.

At the other end, a low shot from Oliveira was held by Pickford diving low to his right.

Paul Huntington and Neil Kilkenny were introduced in a double substitution for Vermijl and Doyle in the 82nd minute.

Soon after coming on, Huntington picked up a yellow card after a tangle with Forest sub Dexter Blackstock who was also cautioned.

North End managed to see out five minutes of injury-time, a late Forest free-kick into the box shredding a few nerves.

PNE: Pickford, Woods, Wright, Cunningham, Vermijl (Huntington 82), Johnson, Gallagher, Browne (Welsh 57), Reach, Doyle (Kilkenny 82), Garner. Subs not used: Keane, May, Hugill, Kirkland.

Forest: De Vries, Licchaj, Mills, Hobbs, Pinillos, Osborn, Trotter, Mendes (Walker 63), Grant (Williams 63), Ward (Blackstock 81), Oliveira. Subs not used: Wilson, Burke, O'Grady, Evtimov.

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)

Attendance: 10,216 (658 away)

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