Match report: PNE 1 Newcastle 2

PNE v Newcastle
PNE v Newcastle
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Preston North End slipped to defeat against Newcastle United but came ever so close to grabbing a point in stoppage-time.

Two goals in 12 minutes during the second half from Alexsandar Mitrovic had put Newcastle in command after North End had enjoyed the better of the first period.

Substitute Jermaine Beckford pulled a goal back in the 90th minute and during 10 minutes of added-on time, PNE were denied a clear penalty and then hit the woodwork.

In a thrilling finale, Beckford was clearly pushed as he moved to meet a cross but referee Chris Kavanagh waved away the appeal.

When the ball was put back into the box as the protests continued, Marnick Vermijl, on as a late sub, struck the post with an overhead kick.

North End's performance was far better than that in the sorry 6-0 defeat to the Magpies in midweek and will count themselves unlucky not to have got anything from the game.

They got a bit ragged around the time of Newcastle's two goals but recovered their composure to put on the late pressure.

Lilwyhites manager Simon Grayson had reverted to the team which started last Saturday's win at Norwich.

Bailey Wright and Ben Pringle were the only two survivors from the Tuesday night mauling at St James' Park.

North End started in a 4-4-2 system, Callum Robinson playing alongside Jordan Hugill up front but dropping deep when Newcastle had possession.

The home side enjoyed the better of the first half, one played in the rain and pretty competitive.

They had the first chance of the contest, Paul Gallagher's free-kick delivered right-footed from the left-wing, met by Bailey Wright who off balance, could only head wide.

Chris Maxwell had to dash out of his box a couple of times to head clear, playing his 'sweeper keeper' role to the letter.

He was called into more conventional action in the 17th minute, positioning himself well behind a low curling low from Matt Ritchie and saving comfortably..

A Gallagher cross from the left saw Magpies skipper Jamaal Lascelles head just over his own bar under pressure from Jordan Hugill.

With half an hour played, good hold-up play by Callum Robinson presented Gallagher with a shooting opportunity 20 yards out, his right-foot drive across the box palmed away by United goalkeeper Karl Darlow diving to his right.

Three minutes later, Pringle's corner from the left was headed goalwards by Wright, the ball brushing off Hugill before being hacked clear two yards from the line by Lascelles.

Six minutes before the interval, it needed a well-timed challenge from Deandre Yedlin to whip the ball away from Robinson as he looked to get on the end of Pringle's pass in the box.

Within the opening 90 seconds of the second half, Pringle shot wide from the edge of the box after a Gallagher corner had been headed out by the away defence.

Preston went ever so close to breaking the deadlock in the 52nd minute, Gallagher's angled shot from the right hand side of the box clipping a defender and travelling inches past the far post with the keeper beaten.

At the other end, Maxwell watched a shot from Isaac Hayden go wide, then Mitrovic was inches off target with a first-time shot from the edge of the box after Ritchie had flicked on a Mohamed Diame pass.

Newcastle went in front in the 59th minute, Ritchie's angled pass out of midfield towards the right channel clipping off Greg Cunningham's head as he attempted to clear, the ball falling into the path of Mitrovic who advanced into the box and drove a low right-foot finish across Maxwell into the far corner.

Preston shouted loudly for a penalty when Robinson appeared to get a shove in the back as he moved to meet Gallagher's cross but Mr Kavanagh waved away the appeal.

It was Mitrovic who got the visitors' second goal in the 71st minute, meeting a Yedlin cross with a header at the near post.

Maxwell dived to block but let the ball slip from his grasp, Mitrovic prodding the ball over the line from three yards.

North End came so close to halving the deficit in the 86th minute, Pearson's shot from just inside the box parried by Darlow at full-stretch with Tom Clarke putting the rebound into the side-netting.

They did manage to get a goal back in the 90th minute to set up a grandstand finish, Cunningham getting down the left side of the box and putting over a low cross which Beckford flicked in the near post.

During stoppage-time, which was signalled for six minutes but stretched to nearly 10, Preston so very nearly got themselves an equaliser.

Clarke and Wright put efforts off target as the hosts turned up the pressure and then with the last action of the game, they should have had a penalty and also struck the woodwork.

Mr Kavanagh shook his head when Beckford went to ground.

As the protests continued, the ball was put back into the box and substitute Vermijl's overhead kick hit the base of the post - moments later the final whistle went.

PNE: Maxwell, Baptiste, Clarke, Wright, Cunningham, Pearson, Robinson (Vermijl 87), Gallagher, Johnson, Pringle (Beckford 72), Hugill (Makienok 83). Subs (not used): Doyle, Spurr, Huntington, Lindegaard.

Newcastle: Darlow, Yedlin (Hanley 90), Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu 90), Shelvey, Hayden, Gouffran, Diame, Mitrovic (Perez 86). Subs (not used): Lazaart, Anita, Gamez, Sels.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Manchester)

Attendance: 20,724 (5,661 away)