Match report: Norwich City 0 PNE 1

Norwich City v PNE
Norwich City v PNE
Have your say

Alex Baptiste's goal gave Preston North End victory over Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Defender Baptiste rose high in the box in the 75th minute to head home a free-kick from Daniel Johnson.

It was the least the Lilywhites deserved for a disciplined performance against the high-flying Canaries who had started the day in second place.

They kept a good shape throughout the 90 minutes, steadily growing into the game and picking their moments to attack on the break.

Straight after Baptiste's goal, it did need a fine double save from goalkeeper Chris Maxwell to preserve the lead, with the Welshman saving twice in quick succession from Cameron Jerome.

Victory stretched North End'[s unbeaten run to seven games and moved them up to ninth place in the Championship.

They have taken seven points off three teams in the division's top four in the past week - Brighton, Huddersfield and now Norwich - with a double header in the EFL Cup and league next against Newcastle.

PNE boss Simon Grayson had tuck with the same starting XI and bench of substitutes who were involved in last Wednesday night's 3-1 victory over Huddersfield.

There was a tweak of formation, with North End in a 4-1-4-1 system, Ben Pearson playing the holding role behind the midfield of Callum Robinson, Paul Gallagher, Ben Pringle and Johnson.

Maxwell was in action with just 15 seconds on the clock, tipping Cameron Jerome's right-foot drive over the bar.

Jordan Hugill should have given the visitors the lead in the fifth minute when Robinson's pass sent him through on goal.

The striker advanced into the box but put his low too close to keeper Michael McGovern who was able to block.

Playing in their navy blue and white away kit for the first time in a competitive game, Preston had plenty of defending to do as the half went on, at times it very much being a containment job on the Canaries.

Graham Dorrans shot straight at Maxwell after Wes Hoolahan had rolled a free-kick into his path, then a shot from Martin Olsson clipped Alex Baptiste on the foot and looped up over the bar.

The resulting corner from Hoolahan was cut back to Dorrans on the edge of the box, Maxwell again positioning himself right behind it to save.

Hugill couldn't get power or direction on a header after being picked out by a Robinson cross in the 15th minute, his effort falling away beyond the back post.

Robbie Brady, Jacob Murphy and Alex Tettey saw shots go wide before North End the last chance of the first half in added-on time.

Robinson burst into the box from Pringle's pass, McGovern off his line quickly to block at his feet.

Inside the first minute of the second half, Pringle got clear of the home defence to chase a through ball but McGovern was out of his box to get there first and kick clear.

At the other end, a Dorrans shot from 25 yards was always rising and cleared the bar comfortably.

In the 53rd minute, Robinson met a bouncing ball just outside the box with a first-time shot which flashed just wide.

Mindful of the fact North End had played 24 hours later than Norwich during the week, Grayson made a double substitution after 73 minutes, sending on Tommy Spurr and Alan Browne for Pringle and Gallagher - changing to a 3-5-2 in the process.

The winner arrived soon after, the visitors awarded a free-kick down the inside-right channel.

Johnson delivered it left-footed into the middle and up went Baptiste to power a header across the keeper into the far corner of the net.

It was his second goal in successive games, having netted against Huddersfield, and his third in all in Preston colours.

Norwich went straight on the attack looking for an equaliser, Maxwell thwarting Jerome with the double save, pushing one of his shots against the post.

Soon after that, substitute Alex Pritchard's header across goal was brilliantly hooked away by Bailey Wright close to the far post.

An 82nd minute chance on the counter attack saw Johnson feed a pass out to Robinson who cut inside from the right-wing and curled a shot straight into McGovern's gloves.

Pritchard hit a free-kick straight into the PNE wall after Wright had felled Jerome just outside the box.

Inevitable late pressure was strongly repelled by North End, Paul Huntington joining the action for stoppage-time to add extra height to the defence and help them see the job through.

See it through they did, the players taking the applause of a sizeable away following at the final whistle - the long journey to Norfolk for them very much worth their while.

Norwich: McGovern, Bennett, Martin, Klose, Olsson, Tettey, Dorrans, Jacob Murphy (Oliveria 56), Hoolahan, Brady (Pritchard 56). Subs (not used): Naismith, Josh Murphy, Thompson, Bassong, Ruddy.

PNE: Maxwell, Baptiste, Clarke, Wright, Cunningham, Pearson, Johnson, Pringle (Spurr 73) Gallagher (Browne 73) Robinson (Huntington 90), Hugill. Subs (not used): Humphrey, Makienok, Doyle, Lindegaard.

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire)

Attendance: 26,239