Match Report: Preston North End 1-0 Peterborough United - PNE off the mark in the Championship as Bauer bags on return
Preston North End registered their first league win of the season as they beat Peterborough United 1-0 at Deepdale.
Patrick Bauer scored the only goal of the game on his return from a long term injury as PNE were creative but not clinical on a rainy summer's day in PR1.
Frankie McAvoy rung the changes once again for the visit of former Preston boss Darren Ferguson's Posh, making four from the 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town in midweek.
Skipper Alan Browne, Liam Lindsay and Ched Evans were all absent due to having to isolate whilst Brad Potts had to settle for a place on the bench following his maiden run out up top.
In came Patrick Bauer for his first start since December 1 of last year - having recovered from a ruptured achilles - as well as Ryan Ledson, Sean Maguire and Scott Sinclair.
PNE started the game brightly, setting the tone after six minutes as they worked the box all the way up the pitch with Ben Whiteman arriving onto the ball at the edge of the box but his shot was blocked.
The home side continued to look the most likely to break the deadlock and that is how it proved to be, Bauer marking his return to the starting line up in the league with a goal after 14 minutes.
Ledson crossed a free kick in from the left, a bending, teasing delivery which the centre back met and Christy Pym in the Posh goal could not keep it out, despite getting a hand to it.
The Lilywhites kept their foot on the gas as they controlled possession and territory, Sinclair looking particualrly dangerous with the ball at his feet running and the Posh backline.
Just past the half hour mark PNE would have their next major chance, Daniel Johnson winning the ball inside the Peterborough box at the corner of the six yard box, carrying the ball towards the penalty spot and aiming over the bar, off balance.
McAvoy's men weren't for letting up as Whiteman hit the crossbar just a minute later, collecting Johnson's pass on the edge of the box before volleying towards goal and being inches form extending the lead.
The frantic pace continued and Sinclair was next to have the chance to make it two 35 minutes in, he was played in behind the backline by a lovely Sepp van den Berg pass but PNE's no.31 could not beat Pym with his low strike.
United's only chance of note came five minutes before the break, Frankie Kent's strike from the edge of the area always rising over Daniel Iversen's crossbar.
The away side started the second half the better of the two however, Siriki Dembele dancing past almost the entirity of the Lilywhites defence from the right wing five minutes into the second half, leaving multiple players on the floor - including Iversen - before firing at goal. Thankfully for PNE, van den Berg was in position on the line to keep it out before Jordan Storey and Andrew Hughes blocked follow up efforts.
The visitors continued to try and find an equaliser, Whiteman conceding a free kick on the edge of the box which Jorge Grant sent over the bar - the PNE midfielder receving a yellow card for his troubles.
North End then wrestled back control, Johnson winning the ball high again and curling it for the far corner, which Pym held after 56 minutes.
Back to back chances could have seen the Lilywhites extend their lead just moments later, Sinclair breaking down the left and cuttig inside with his shot saved. Earl nodded the rebound towards Whiteman's whose powerful drive narrowly evaded the top corner.
Emil Riis joined the game and would be the next to be frustrated, beating his man on the left wing and seeing his low finish beaten away by the Posh stopper.
Then came an occupation of the Peterborough box, four back to back corners that could - once again - have seen PNE find the net. Hughes was the chief threat, first heading Bauer's square header at goal before two defenders were on hand to deflect another of his headers over the bar.
PNE continued to be the better the side and two minutes into stoppage time they were still pushing for a second, Johnson collecting a Hughes pass over the top before dragging his effort just wide of the near post.
And sitll McAvoy's men attacked, Riis squaring it to Brad Potts on off the bench inside the six yard box but the latter couldn't apply the finish.
It could have easily been 1-1 however as Jonson Clarke-Harris latched onto a ball in behind with the last kick of the game, he sent it goalwards but North End's Great Dane in goal was equal to it, turning it around the post and welcoming the referee's whistle.
PNE starting XI: Iversen, Storey, Bauer, Hughes, van den Berg, Whiteman, Ledson, Johnson, Earl, Sinclair (Riis, 69'), Maguire (Potts, 79').
PNE subs not used: Rudd, Cunnigham, Bayliss, Rafferty, Rodwell-Grant.
Peterborough United starting XI: Pym, Butler, Kent, Thompson, Knight (Randall, 78'), Ward, Norburn, Grant, Burrows (Szmodics, 66'), Dembele (Marriott, 66'), Clarke-Harris.
Peterborough United subs not used: Cornell, Edwards, Tomlinson, Barker.
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Attendance: 9,852 (690)
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