Cardiff City 4 Preston North End 0 match report: Lilywhites miss two penalties on a woeful afternoon in South Wales
Preston North End missed two penalties in the space of two minutes during their heavy defeat to Cardiff City.
Trailing 2-0 in the second half, North End were awarded their first spot kick in the 64th minute when substitute Anthony Gordon was barged over by Harry Wilson.
Fellow sub Paul Gallagher saw his penalty parried by Bluebirds goalkeeper Dillon Phillips, with Gallagher then fouled by Aden Flint as he shaped to meet the rebound.
Ched Evans stepped-up to take the second penalty, Phillips this time going the other way to push away Evans' effort.
The double penalty miss formed part of a grim afternoon at the Cardiff City Stadium for the Lilywhites.
They had fallen behind to a second-minute penalty at the other end, the third North End had conceded in three games and the sixth in 2021.
Kieffer Moore dispatched that one with confidence into the roof of the net, that goal separating the sides going into half-time.
Just 27 seconds into the second half, PNE conceded a second goal when Josh Murphy collected a pass from Wilson to shoot home.
After the two misses from the spot, North End had their noses rubbed in it by two further Cardiff goals.
Marlon Pack netted from close range, following-up after Daniel Iversen has saved superbly from Moore.
Then substitute Mark Harris scored moments after joining the action, intercepting a back pass from Liam Lindsay to take it round Iversen and roll the ball into an empty net.
It was one of those days when if anything could go wrong, it did.
You had to say that North End were the authors of their own misfortune though, not only with the penalty misses but some rank poor defending.
North End manager Alex Neil had made two changes to the side and switched formation to a 3-5-2.
Greg Cunningham and Emil Riis came into the starting XI at the expense of Scott Sinclair and Tom Barkhuizen who dropped to the bench.
Riis partnered Evans in attack, Cunningham operating as left wing-back with skipper Alan Browne doing that job on the right.
The game was barely a minute old when PNE conceded the penalty to leave them chasing the game.
It looked soft at first glance, Sean Morrison going down with his back to goal from the slightest of contact from Lindsay as the visitors attempted to clear the six-yard after a Cardiff attack.
Referee Jeremy Simpson felt contact was sufficient to point to the spot, that the third penalty Neil's side had conceded in three games.
Moore took the penalty, hammering it into the top right-hand corner past the dive of Iversen - it well struck to say the least..
Iversen sprang to North End's rescue in the ninth minute, diving to his left to push away Morrison's header from a Wilson inswinging free-kick
Conceding so early did knock the visitors out of their stride, with it taking a while for them to work their play into any sort of pattern.
Their single chance of the first half was Evans' header from a Cunningham cross which went straight at the keeper.
As the half went on, Cardiff were content to allow PNE to have plenty of the ball. But all their possession was in front of a well organised Bluebirds side.
The visitors did look to build from the back, however anything of promise tended to breakdown in the midfield area.
Barkhuizen replaced Riis at half-time but any tactical work done in the away-team dressing room went out of the window just 27 seconds into the second half.
North End lost possession down their left side, Wilson taking the ball up the pitch before his pass in field found Murphy.
There was still work for Murphy to do just outside the box, the striker stepping across a challenge before firing a low shot across Iversen into the far bottom corner.
In the 50th minute, Murphy's cross from the left of the box was pushed out by Iversen, the keeper leaping to gather Moore's ball back into the goalmouth.
The drama surrounding North End's double penalty miss started to unfold in the 64th minute when Gordon got barged over by Wilson as he chased a ball down the left hand side of the box.
Gallagher, who had come on with Gordon as a double substitution four minutes earlier, stepped-up to take it, Phillips diving to his right to parry.
The ball ran back into Gallagher's path and just as he prepared to meet the rebound, Aden Flint floored him from behind with a late challenge.
Mr Simpson pointed to the spot again, booking Flint for the foul.
With Gallagher hobbling, Evans took the second penalty, Phillips this time going to his left to parry.
Such wastefulness from the spot was punished by two more Cardiff goals.
They made it 3-0 in the 71st minute, substitute Sheyi Ojo's finding Moore in the middle.
The big striker's header was superbly blocked at point-blank range by Iversen but Pack followed-up to knock home the rebound.
Six minutes later came Cardiff's fourth goal, Lindsay's back pass intercepted by Harris who had come on as a sub moments earlier.
Harris got there just before Iversen, took him past him and ran it into the net.
Cardiff: Phillips, Morrison, Flint, Nelson, Ng, Vaulks, Pack, Wilson (Bacuna 69), Bennett, Murphy (Ojo 60), Moore (Harris 76). Subs (not used): Brown, Bagan, Sang. Williams, Watters, Smithies.
PNE: Iversen, Storey. Lindsay, Hughes, Browne (Rafferty 82), Whiteman (Gordon 60), Molumby ((Potts 72), Cunningham, Johnson (Gallagher 60), Riis (Barkhuizen 46), Evans. Subs (not used): Huntington, van den Berg, Sinclair, Ripley.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Carnforth)
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