Five things we learned from Preston North End’s 3-1 win at Millwall that extended their fine run in the Championship
Preston North End kept up their impressive run in the Championship with a 3-1 win at Millwall on Saturday.
Below we take a look at the main talking points
North End just love playing away at the moment
Thought PNE couldn’t get any better on the road than they have in recent weeks? Think again. Alex Neil’s side hit top form in the first half to all but seal a fourth straight away win in the Championship. It was scintillating stuff and in reality could have been more. This being Millwall there was always going to be a battle at some point. PNE didn’t hit the heights in the second half and the hosts deserved their goal back as they threw caution to the wind. An all out onslaught didn’t really come though and in the end, the Lilywhites got over the line in relative comfort. It’s now eight unbeaten with North End suddenly just six points shy of the play-off places.
Gallagher might even be getting younger
This was Paul Gallagher at his very, very best. The experienced midfielder really is rolling back the years at the moment and didn’t miss a beat at The Den before being replaced as the game was stretched in the second half. His free-kick set off the events for the first goal for Andrew Hughes while a dangerous corner from the No.12 eventually found Tom Clarke at the far post for the second. His best assist was still to come though, a cushioned pass on the volley perfectly waited for Sean Maguire to race clear and score the third. In general, his range of passing from deep put Tom Brady and other top American football quarterbacks to shame, Tom Barkhuizen a particular outlet down the right.
Hughes likes playing Millwall
Andrew Hughes has more than contributed on the goal front this season. The left back made it four for the campaign with the opener here. Jordan Storey challenged for the initial Gallagher free-kick with the ball dropping for Hughes who fired home on the volley on his right foot at the second attempt. It was a excellent strike, the full back having also scored a couple of free-kicks in his maiden Deepdale campaign. It was always going to take him time to settle in his first season in the Championship but he’s been as solid as a rock recently, proving why Alex Neil handed him the job of trying to make up for the loss of Greg Cunningham.
Masked man Clarke back with a bang
Darnell Fisher’s knock meant that Tom Clarke was back in as captain at right back. No-one needs telling that it isn’t his natural position but having done an admirable job earlier in the season he got the nod ahead of Joe Rafferty. Not content with a solid defensive display, Clarke got himself on the scoresheet. It was some header too. Gallagher’s corner made its way right across the face of the goal to Clarke who had to generate plenty of power on an effort that was too good for Jordan Archer. A first goal since the winner at Cardiff back in December 2017 saw his protective mask removed in celebration. As good as Fisher has been it was good to see the captain back.
Pearson keeps letting himself down
Ben Pearson had battled away in the middle of the park and kept PNE ticking over, having another really good game in his customary manner. But he will now miss the next two games after reaching the dreaded 10 bookings for the season. It was all a bit needless too. The whistle had already been blown for an infringement, the ball breaking to Pearson who in a bid to break up momentum late on booted it high into the main stand. Referee Steve Martin had on hesitation in bringing out a card meaning the talismanic midfielder will miss the games against Bristol City and Blackburn Rovers. If he was going to have to get his 10th booking, this wasn’t the way.