Match report: Nottingham Forest 0 PNE 3

PNE celebrate Tom Barkhuizen's goal at Nottingham Forest
PNE celebrate Tom Barkhuizen's goal at Nottingham Forest

Preston North End cruised to their first Championship victory of 2018, beating Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Goals from Billy Bodin, Tom Barkhuizen and Daniel Johnson gave PNE the three points in what was a pretty dominant show in the East Midlands.

Billy Bodin takes on Danny Fox

Billy Bodin takes on Danny Fox

It was all done without Jordan Hugill who had been left out of the squad following a day of speculation linking him with a big-money move to Crystal Palace.

The win was North End's first on Forest territory since 2003 and no one could begrudge them their success.

Bodin set them on their way in the 35th minute, capitalising on a mistake from Forest skipper Michael Mancienne to score his first Preston goal since joining from Bristol Rovers.

Barkhuizen doubled the advantage on the hour, heading home a Paul Gallagher corner.

Billy Bodin (right) celebrates opening the scoring with Alan Browne and Callum Robinson

Billy Bodin (right) celebrates opening the scoring with Alan Browne and Callum Robinson

Mancienne's push on Bodin saw North End awarded a penalty in the 83rd minute, substitute Daniel Johnson netting from the spot.

Ben Pearson, Gallagher, Callum Robinson and Barkhuizen returned to the starting XI, Hugill, Daryl Horgan, Louis Moult and John Welsh dropping out - Horgan and Moult included on the bench.

Declan Rudd got the nod in goal over Chris Maxwell for the first time in the league this season, Rudd having played only twice in the FA Cup.

Early on a long throw-in from Barkhuizen was met by Tom Clarke, the skipper's header blocked in the six-yard box.

At the other end, Apostolos Vellios poked a shot wide at the far post after two Forest players had headed on the ball from a corner.

Vellios went close again with an effort from further out, sweeping a first-time shot over the bar from the edge of the box after Matty Cash had beaten Gallagher and Josh Earl on the Forest right and played the ball inside.

Gallagher curled a right-foot shot from 25 yards inches past the post, that coming in between chances for Vellios and Danny Fox for the home side.

Just past the half hour, Barkhuizen nodded down a cross from Earl into the path of Gallagher, the midfielder's volley clearing the bar.

The Lilywhites took a 35th minute lead, taking advantage of a mix-up in the Forest defence to score.

When David Vaughan played the ball back to Mancienne 10 yards outside his own box, Robinson ran to close the home skipper down.

Mancienne tried to find keeper Jordan Smith with a back pass but it fell short, Bodin nipping it to lift a sweet finish over Smith for his first goal in North End colours.

In first-half stoppage-time, Bodin tried his luck with a free-kick from 20 yards which the keeper held at the near post.

Five minutes into the second half a neat exchange of passes presented Vaughan with a shooting opportunity just outside the box, one he hit over Rudd's bar.

After that North End had a good spell of pressure, Bodin tricking his way along the byline from the right channel but put too much on his cross.

With them well on top of the game, PNE doubled their lead on the hour mark with a goal from a set piece.

Gallagher delivered a corner from the right which Barkhuizen met six yards out to head across the keeper into the net.

Barkhuizen was not far away from a second goal five minutes later, speeding down the left-wing before coming inside and hitting a right-foot shot which Smith dived to claw behind at the expense of a corner.

Another opening saw Robinson turn smartly on the edge of the box and hit a low shot which caught a deflection and went into the keeper's arms.

In the 72nd minute, Darnell Fisher played a one-two with Bodin and crossed low for Browne who lifted a first-time shot over the bar from 15 yards.

Preston capped off victory seven minutes from time from the penalty spot.

Bodin picked Mancienne's pocket, wrestling possession off him to the side of the box and cutting in towards goal - Mancienne halted his run with a shove in the back which saw referee Geoff Eltringham point to the spot.

Johnson, just on as a substitute for Gallagher, was straight on penalty duty and confidently dispatched it into the net.

Nottingham Forest: Smith, Darikwa, Worrall, Mancienne, Fox, Vaughan, Osborn, Cash, Dowell, McKay (Brereton 62), Vellios (Ward 76). Subs (not used): Lichaj, Clough, Bouchalakis, Henderson.

PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Clarke, Huntington, Earl, Pearson (Moult 85) Gallagher (Johnson 80), Bodin, Browne, Barkhuizen, Robinson (Horgan 88). Subs (not used): Woods, Spurr, Harrop, Maxwell.

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (County Durham)

Attendance: 22,044 (411 PNE)