Match report: QPR 0 PNE 2

Preston North End are up-and-running in the Championship after victory over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Saturday, 20th August 2016, 1:08 pm
Updated Saturday, 20th August 2016, 6:59 pm
PNE celebrate their opening goal at QPR

Jermaine Beckford and Callum Robinson scored in either half to give PNE their first three points of the season - and deserved they were too.

They were the better side in the visit to the capital and had chances to extend their lead.

A shot from Paul Gallagher which spun off Beckford put North End in front in the 22nd minute, an advantage which was doubled by Robinson meeting a Beckford cross seven minutes into the second half.

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Robinson, Gallagher and Daniel Johnson all had changes at 2-0 as the visitors kept the pressure on and their lead was rarely threatened, much to the delight of 835 Preston fans who made the trip to London.

Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson had made four changes to the PNE starting XI, John Welsh, Tommy Spurr, |Chris Humphrey and Johnson coming into the side.

For Welsh, it was the midfielder's first appearance of the season after he had not made the match-day squad for the first three Championship games of the campaign, while he was an unused substitute against Hartlepool in the EFL Cup.

Spurr made his Preston debut after a summer move from Blackburn, the defender having had to play catch-up with his fitness after suffering an ankle injury in pre-season.

North End reverted to a tried-and-trusted 3-5-2, Humphrey and Spurr the wing-backs, with Greg Cunningham in a back three with Tom Clarke and Bailey Wright.

Welsh helped give the midfield a stronger look, playing a deep shielding role in front of the defence.

Up front, Robinson partnered Beckford, moving into the central position after an impressive show on the left-wing against Derby last Tuesday.

It was QPR who made the early running, with Preston content to stay in shape and soak up pressure.

Anders Lindegaard had to be alert to come out of his box to head down a ball which had played over the PNE defence, before volleying clear.

With quarter of an hour gone, Yeni Ngbakoto's free-kick from the left found James Perch in the box but he flicked the ball high over the bar.

North End took the lead in the 22nd minute, the build-up starting with Spurr's long throw-in from the left into the box.

It was cleared to Spurr who returned a cross back into the middle, QPR keeper Alex Smithies' punch fell to Paul Gallagher whose half-volley struck Beckford in the six-yard box and spun into the net.

Preston looked a threat on the break after that and were close to extending the lead in the 31st minute, Gallagher driving a shot over the bar from the edge of the box after Robinson's cross had found him.

Three minutes before the interval, Beckford's attempted overhead kick came off his toe and looped high over the bar.

Within 90 seconds of the start of the second half, Gallagher's cross from the right was headed over the bar by Wright, a corner having been cleared back to Gallagher.

PNE doubled their lead in the 52nd minute, Johnson playing a nice pass down the right channel for play in Beckford.

The striker galloped to reach it and stretched to send a low cross into the box which Robinson met six-yards out to sweep it into the net as Nedum Onuoha put in a challenge.

There followed a spell of pressure in which the visitors pressed forward and put QPR under intense pressure.

Johnson curled a left-foot shot from 20 yards inches the wrong side of the far post, then Gallagher spun 30 yards out and shot goalwards, almost catching Smithies off his line, the keeper back-pedalling to tip it over the bar.

At the other end, Sebastian Polter had a shot on the half-turn which went straight into Lindegaard's gloves.

With 65 minutes on the clock, Spurr got away down the left side of the cross and put over a cross which Robinson fired across goal and just wide - North End claiming with some justification that Spurr had been fouled as he put in the centre.

The home side went close when a long ball over the top released substitute Conor Washington in the box, but he got the ball stuck under his feet and Lindegaard was out to smother when he got a half-hit effort away.

Jordan Hugill and Alan Browne replaced Gallagher and Beckford in the 73rd minute, both of those who came off looking like they were carrying injuries.

With nine minuets left, Washington's low shot from inside the box was pushed past the post by Lindegaard diving to his left.

Nasser El Khayati then dragged a shot wide of the near post as the home side mounted some late pressure, none of which particularly threatened North End who managed the closing stages very well

QPR: Smithies, Perch, Onuoha, Caulker, Bidwell, Henry (Washington 55), Cousins, Luongo, Chery, Ngbakoto (El Khayati 68), Polter. Subs (not used): Shodipo, Kakay, Grego-Cox, Paul, Ingram.

PNE: Lindegaard, Clarke, Wright, Cunningham, Humphrey (Huntington 87), Welsh, Gallagher, (Browne 73) Johnson, Spurr, Robinson, Beckford (Hugill 73). Subs (not used): Pringle, Doyle, Makienok, Maxwell

Referee: Andrew Madley (Yorkshire)

Attendance: 13,307 (835 PNE)