Preston North End 2 Brentford 0 - Match report on another Deepdale win for Alex Neil's men

Sean Maguires celebrates giving Preston an early lead against Brentford
Sean Maguires celebrates giving Preston an early lead against Brentford

Preston North End made it four Championship victories out of four at Deepdale this season as they beat Brentford.

Goals from Sean Maguire and Tom Barkhuizen - both injury doubts ahead of kick-off - delivered the three points.

Preston manager Alex Neil

Preston manager Alex Neil

Maguire fired the Lilywhites in front early doors, firing home from Ryan Ledson's cross.

Brentford went on to have the better of the play for a long spell after that although PNE goalkeeper Declan Rudd was never overly stretched.

North End held their nerve and effectively wrapped-up victory in the 70th minute when Barkhuizen turned home a close-range finish from a Darnell Fisher cross.

They have now beaten Wigan, Stoke, Sheffield Wednesday and now Brentford in the league in front of the home faithful.

North End's team had shown four changes from the one which had drawn at Nottingham Forest before the international break.

Maguire, Barkhuizen and Fisher returned from injury, with Ledson replacing Ben Pearson who missed out through illness.

Barkhuizen started up front with support from Maguire on the left and Billy Bodin on the right.

Daniel Johnson was behind them in the attacking midfield role, Ledson partnering Alan Browne in the midfield.

Early pressure in which PNE forced three corners in quick succession paid off when they took a fourth minute lead.

Bodin's corner from the left was cleared out of the box by the Brentford defence but Ledson was first to the loose ball down the right channel and returned it into the middle.

As the visitors' hesitated and looked towards the assistant for a possible offside, Maguire brought the ball down and fired past Bees goalkeeper David Raya from six yards.

North End maintained the pressure for a little while, Bodin blazing high and wide after exchanging passes with Maguire, then Raya had to be alert to dash off his line and block at the feet of Bodin after the winger had surged into the box from the right-wing.

After that it was Brentford who did most of the attacking, moving the ball quickly and working it down the wings.

Bryan Mbeumo got clear of the Preston defence down the middle in the 17th minute but his touch was heavy and the ball rolled through for Declan Rudd to gather.

Sergi Canos and Mbeumo both put shots well wide, before Rudd dived to his right four minutes before half-time to parry Said Benraham's shot.

Three minutes into the second half, Mbeumo's shot from the right-hand corner of the box dipped just over the bar and landed on top of the net.

In the 52nd minute, Benrahama and Ollie Watkins linked well down the left hand side of the box, Benraham's low shot from a narrow angle hitting Rudds' shins at the near post and bouncing behind.

Soon after that Benrahama sent a free-kick from 25 yards whistling inches wide of the target.

Paul Gallagher replaced Ledson in the 55th minute as Alex Neil made his first North End substitution of the afternoon.

Just beyond the hour mark, Christian Norgaard's 20-yard shot hit Ben Davies and looped up over the bar and behind for a corner.

A second PNE substitution saw Josh Harop take Bodin's place in the 65th minute as the home side looked to give their attacking play another dimension.

North End's very welcome second goal arrived in the 70th minute and a very well worked one it was too.

Joe Rafferty took possession down the left channel, brought it inside on to his right and floated a ball across the pitch to find Fisher down the right-hand side of the box.

Fisher might have been tempted to have a shot himself but he chose to square it into the middle to leave Barkhuizen with the simple task of knocking it home from six yards.

After that, Preston saw the game out comfortably without many anxious moments, job done against a decent side.

PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Rafferty, Ledson (Gallagher 55), Browne, Bodin (Harrop 65), Johnson, Maguire, Barkhuizen (Potts 81). Subs (not used): Storey, Green, Stockley, Ripley.

Brentford: Raya, Henry, Jansson, Dalsgaard, Jeanvier, Jensen (Dasilva 73), Mbeumo (Mokotjo 65), Canos, Norgaard, Benrahma, Watkins. Subs (not used): Thompson, Pinnock, Valencia, Zamburek, Daniels.

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)

Attendance: 12,873 (579 away)