Nottingham Forest 1 Preston North End 2 match report: Lilywhites finish their Championship campaign with victory on Gentry Day
Preston North End staged a second-half comeback to beat Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Having trailed to James Garner's fine first-half strike, the Lilywhites struck twice in 14 minutes through Tom Bayliss and Liam Lindsay to turn the game on its head.
Bayliss turned Scott Sinclair's shot over the line from close range, with Lindsay then meeting Ched Evans knock back to head the winner on Gentry Day.
It was a fourth victory on the bounce for North End and a fifth in eight games in charge for interim head coach Frankie McAvoy.
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With 17 points gained under his stewardship, McAvoy must surely be in pole position now to land the job full-time.
The points did look beyond them in the first half though, Forest the dominant side for 45 minutes and deserving of their lead.
It was a superb shot from Manchester United loanee Garner to break the deadlock and left PNE which much work to do.
Credit to the visitors, they were the better side in the second half and you couldn't begrudge them the points.
Evans was excellent up front, playing a part in both goals, with Lindsay and Andrew Hughes impressive at the back.
The North End side had shown two changes from the 2-0 win over Barnsley, Bayliss and Sinclair handed starts in place of Ben Whiteman and Tom Barkhuizen.
It was Bayliss' second start in the Championship, his first being against Forest in the reverse fixture in January.
Sinclair played up with Evans, it being Evans who had PNE's only sight of goal in a first-half bossed by the home side.
That chance came in the ninth minute when Greg Cunningham's cross from the left was missed by Forest keeper Brice Samba as he came out to collect.
The ball came to Evans who looped a header goalwards but saw it clear the bar and land on the top of the net.
It was pretty much all Forest after that until half-time and they went in front in the 17th minute.
What a quality strike it was, the ball worked to Garner who unleashed a shot from 25 yards which rocketed into the net and left Daniel Iversen rooted to the spot.
Garner went close again in the 20th minute, his shot from Lewis Grabban's cut back going just wide - Jordan Storey doing enough with a challenge just as Garner shot.
A shot from Grabban went straight at Iversen at his near post, while Anthony Knockaert fired just wide after coming inside from the right channel and pulling the trigger with his left foot.
With two minutes of the second half played, an Evans flick found Alan Browne in the box, his pass aimed at Sinclair cut out by an out-stretched Forest boot.
There was a golden opportunity for Forest on the counter attack in the 50th minute, the home side breaking four on one on North End who got caught up field in numbers.
The ball was fed across field to Filip Krovinovic who shot wide from the edge of the box when he had more time to take it closer.
Less than three minutes after that chance, North End equalised.
Ryan Ledson got possession in the Forest half and fed a pass forward which Evans dummied to allow Sinclair to run on to it down the left hand side of the box.
Sinclair took the ball towards the six-yard box and lifted a shot across goal, Bayliss getting the last touch at the far post to take it over the line.
There was protests from the home side that Bayliss had used his arm but referee Darren Bond gave the goal.
Having taken a grip on the game, PNE pushed forward and took the lead in the 67th minute.
Browne allowed a pass to travel across him without touching it, the ball running to Cunningham on the left who knocked it into the path of Bayliss.
The midfielder lifted a cross to the far post, Evans nodded it back across goal and Lindsay ran in to power a header into the net.
Within sixty seconds of the goal Evans went close to making it three, his low angled shot tipped beyond the far post by the diving Samba.
North End saw out the closing stages without too many scares to finish the season with a flourish.
Forest: Samba, Christie, Worrall, Soh, Ribeiro, Garner, Yates, Krovinovic (Mighten 74), Knockaert, Grabban (Murray 82), Taylor. Subs (not used): Figueiredo, Colback, Jenkinson, Cafu, Blackett, McKenna, Smith.
PNE: Iversen, Storey, Lindsay, Hughes, van den Berg, Bayliss (Barkhuizen 70), Browne, Ledson (Whiteman 70), Cunningham, Sinclair (Potts 82), Evans (Maguire 89). Subs (not used): Riis, Molumby, Huntington, Gordon, Ripley.
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)
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