Match report: PNE 2 QPR 1

Goals from Aiden McGeady and Jordan Hugill gave Preston North End victory as they came from behind to beat Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 25th February 2017, 1:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:40 am
PNE celebrate Jordan Hugill's winner against QPR
PNE celebrate Jordan Hugill's winner against QPR

The visitors went ahead in a low-quality first-half, Kazenga Lualua finding the net with a back heel after a long throw-in into the box was not cleared.

McGeady netted the equaliser on the stroke of half-time with a stunning curling finish from 20 yards, a strike similar to his second against Brentford a fortnight earlier.

The winner came from Hugill in the 72nd minute, the striker netting at the second attempt from Daryl Horgan's corner.

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QPR played the final 12 minutes with 10 men after Luke Freeman was sent-off for two bookings, the second a stamp on Tommy Spurr.

Victory extended Preston's unbeaten run to five matches and maintained their hopes of making a run for the play-offs.

Injury had ruled out Ben Pearson (groin) and Tyias Browning (knee), with Daniel Johnson and Spurr coming in to replace them.

Browning's injury is the more severe of the two, with the on-loan Everton defender out for six weeks after being injured in training on Tuesday.

There was a return on the bench for Paul Gallagher after the midfielder had missed three games with a thigh strain.

North End started in a 3-4-1-2 system, Spurr on the left side of a three-man defence with Tom Clarke and Paul Huntington.

Horgan started in an unfamiliar right wing-back slot, with Greg Cunningham on the left side.

The first half was mediocre fair, only really coming to life in the closing 10 minutes as both sides got on the scoresheet.

Lualua had a couple of early half openings - a shot which deflected into the gloves of PNE goalkeeper Chris Maxwell and a cross which bounced across the six-yard box without anyone getting a touch.

Hugill forced a diving save out of Alex Smithies but the flag had already gone up for offside against the striker.

North End went close to breaking the deadlock when Horgan's corner from the right was met by Hugill, his header superbly tipped over by keeper Smithies.

QPR went ahead in the 36th minute with a slightly bizarre goal.

James Perch's long throw-in bounced low in the box and went through Spurr's legs as he attempted to clear.

It came to Lualua who was afforded enough room to back-heel it into the net from six yards.

Robinson shot straight at the keeper after being played into space down the right hand side of the box before North End levelled in the 45th minute.

McGeady picked up possession, rode a challenge before curling a beauty of a right-foot shot into the far corner from 20 yards.

North End changed formation at the interval, going 4-4-2 with Cunningham moving over to play at right-back.

Two minutes into the second half, Ryan Manning drove a left-foot just over Maxwell's bar after the ball had bounced his way in the Preston box.

Cunningham went close to scoring in the 51st minute, collecting a lay-off from Huntington and curling a left-foot shot inches wide of the far post.

A strong spell of pressure almost brought its rewards for North End with two chances in a three-minute spell.

Horgan's strong run along the right-wing carried PNE up the pitch, his cross landing at the feet of Robinson who was tackled as he shaped to shoot.

Robinson then had the ball in the net at the far post after meeting Cunningham's low cross but he had strayed offside and up went the flag to rule it out.

North End took the lead in the 72nd minute, Hugill netting his 11th goal of the campaign.

Horgan delivered a corner from the left which found Hugill in the six-yard box.

His first shot was blocked by the keeper but he made no mistake with the rebound, sweeping it into the roof of the net.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men six minutes after the goal, Freeman's foul on Spurr punished by his second yellow card of the afternoon followed by red.

Preston finished strongly, substitute Tom Barkhuizen - on for Horgan - forcing a fine diving save from Smithies after cutting inside from the right-wing.

Barkhuizen had another chance soon after which he put too close to the keeper, while McGeady saw a shot charged down as the hosts counter-attacked.

PNE: Maxwell, Spurr, Clarke, Huntington, Cunningham, Horgan (Barkhuizen 86), Browne, Johnson, McGeady, Robinson, Hugill. Subs (not used): Boyle, Gallagher, May, Makienok, Beckford, Lindegaard.

QPR: Smithies, Furlong (Ngbakoto 66), Onuoha, Lynch, Bidwell, Wszolek, Perch, Freeman, Lualua (Mackie 72), Smith (Sylla 66), Manning. Subs (not used): Goss, Luongo, Petrasso, Ingram.

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)

Attendance: 10,848 (658 away)