Preston North End 0 Cardiff City 1 - Match report on another Deepdale defeat for the Lilywhites

Preston North End suffered a third successive home defeat in the Championship as Sheyi Ojo's goal settled the contest in Cardiff City's favour.

Sunday, 18th October 2020, 2:18 pm
Updated Sunday, 18th October 2020, 2:22 pm

Ojo, on loan from Liverpool, struck in the 52nd minute as the Bluebirds swiftly turned defence into attack on the counter.

North End lacked attacking ideas and invention to find an equaliser, chances to break down Cardiff's blue wall few and far between.

The best opportunity fell to substitute Jayden Stockley late in the game but he sent a close-range header straight at the goalkeeper.

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Sheyi Ojo scores Cardiff's winner against Preston North End at Deepdale

It was so disappointing from PNE, coming on the back of such an aggressive attacking performance at Brentford the last time out.

They found Cardiff skipper Sean Morrison in dominant mood at the back, the centre-half winning all of his battles.

That said, the home side rarely tested him on the floor or with great numbers in the box.

So this one went the same way as Swansea and Stoke's visits to Deepdale have done this season.

North End skipper Alan Browne challenges for the ball against Cardiff

Alex Neil had stuck with the side which had started the 4-2 win at Brentford a fortnight ago.

Medical clearance was granted for Alan Browne to play, the midfielder having had to self-isolate since part way through the international break after being deemed a close contact of a Republic of Ireland team-mate who had tested positive for Covid-19.

Daniel Johnson came back into the squad among the substitutes after being absent with a groin strain.

The first half was typical Championship fodder, plenty of effort from both sides without a great deal of quality.

Brad Pots slides in for a challenge against Cardiff

Junior Hoilett had the game's first chance, miscuing a shot and scooping it over the bar from Morrison's knock down.

North End midfielder Brad Potts drove a free-kick into the Cardiff wall in the 14th minute, Sean Maguire having been fouled by Jordi Osei-Tutu.

Maguire hit a snap shot too close to goalkeeper Alex Smithies after linking well with Scott Sinclair.

Cardiff had a good spell of possession and pressure from around the halfway point of the first half and looked the more threatening side for a time.

PNE midifelder Ben Pearson tracks Junior Hoilett

Leandro Bacuna's shot from 20 yards was comfortably dealt with by Declan Rudd, the visitors' best chance of the half falling Kieffer Moore's way in the 32nd minute.

Osei-Tutu switched the ball on to his left foot and curled in a cross from the right-wing which Moore got above Patrick Bauer to meet but headed over the bar from seven yards.

Greg Cunningham's return to Deepdale proved a short lived one, the former PNE left-back limping off before half an hour had been played.

North End rallied going forward in the run-up to the interval, forcing a couple of corners.

In the 45th minute, good work from Maguire played in Andrew Hughes who saw a shot blocked. The rebound found its way to Potts who struck a low shot which Smithies saved.

Cardiff broke the deadlock seven minutes into the second half with a counter-attack which saw them go from box to box.

The visitors cleared their box, breaking four on two with Moore leading the charge through the middle.

He played Ojo in on the overload to the right of him, the winger taking the ball into the box and hammering a shot into the roof of the net over Rudd.

Rarely did North End look like conjuring up an equaliser from that point onwards, bar a couple of late headers.

Tom Barkhuizen came off the bench to replace Potts, with strikers Emil Riis and then Stockley introduced as PNE went 4-4-2.

Creativity and craft was badly missing though, you wondering whether Johnson or Paul Gallagher might have made a difference rather than being left on the bench.

Sinclair had a first-time shot from Browne's lay-off saved by Smithies, the ball going straight at the keeper.

A couple of chances fell Stockley's way in the closing minutes, the first seeing him dive forwards to meet Browne's cross but he couldn't get direction on his header and it travelled wide.

Then in the 88th minute, Ben Davies put over a peach of a cross from the left - probably PNE's best delivery all game - and Stockley could only head straight at the keeper from six yards.

Either side of the keeper, it would have been a goal.

PNE: Rudd, Rafferty, Bauer, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Ledson (Stockley 76), Potts (Barkhuizen 60), Browne, Sinclair, Maguire (Riis 67). Subs (not used): Johnson, Gallagher, Storey, Ripley.

Cardiff: Smithies, Osei-Tutu (Bamba 76), Morrison, Nelson, Cunningham (Wilson 29), Bacuna, Pack, Ralls, Ojo (Vaulks 78), Hoilett, Moore. Subs (not used): Glatzel, Murpohy, Benkovic, Phillips.

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)