Preston North End 0 Millwall 1 - Match report from Deepdale as the Lilywhites go down to their first league defeat since January 1

Preston's Daniel Johnson and Tom Clarke in the thick of the action against MillwallPreston's Daniel Johnson and Tom Clarke in the thick of the action against Millwall
Preston's Daniel Johnson and Tom Clarke in the thick of the action against Millwall
Preston North End's six-game unbeaten run was halted by defeat to Millwall at Deepdale.

Shaun Hutchinson scored the contest's only goal 12 minutes from time, nodding home after the North End defence had been caught out by Murray Wallace's looping header which dropped over them.

Bar a lively opening 15 minutes, North End found the going tough against an organised visitors' side.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They needed to score early on and had the chances to do that, the best seeing Daniel Johnson's shot parried the keeper with David Nugent putting the rebound over the bar.

Preston left-back Andrew Hughes challenges against MillwallPreston left-back Andrew Hughes challenges against Millwall
Preston left-back Andrew Hughes challenges against Millwall

In the second half Millwall looked a real threat on the counter and had already hit the woodwork when Hutchinson popped-up to net the winner.

It was PNE's first defeat in the Championship since New Year's Day, it coming on the back of two away wins in the space of five days.

The North End starting XI showed two changes from the side which had won at Stoke.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tom Clarke and Nugent came in for Darnell Fisher and Sean Maguire, with Clarke playing at right-back and Nugent leading the attack.

Preston winger Scott Sinclair has a shot early on against MillwallPreston winger Scott Sinclair has a shot early on against Millwall
Preston winger Scott Sinclair has a shot early on against Millwall

PNE were very bright for the first quarter of an hour and carved out three good chances in that spell.

A cross from Tom Barkhuizen picked out Scott Sinclair in the seventh minute, the winger seeing his shot blocked by the flag had gone up against him for offside.

The best chance came two minutes as they swept forward on the counter after a Millwall attack had been snuffed out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Barkhuizen chased a ball down the right channel and cut the ball into the path of Johnson in the box.

DJ took a touch and hit a left-foot shot which was too near keeper Bartosz Bialkowski who managed to parry.

The loose ball fell into the path of Nugent who wasn't able to keep his shot down and lifted it over the bar.

Sinclair had a shot on the half-turn saved by Bialkowski after Clarke's cross had flicked into his path.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Millwall got more into the game as the first half went on, an 18th minute corner from the left leading to a scrambe in the PNE goalmouth which Johnson eventually ended by blocking a shot and taking it behind.

Centre-half Jake Cooper exchanged passes with Jed Wallace to get behind North End's defence, Declan Rudd stretching out a boot to block the centre-back's low shot.

Jayson Molumby tried his luck with a speculative shot which deflected off team-mate Tom Bradshaw and forced Rudd to save.

With 35 minutes of the clock, Patrick Bauer's cross from the right was headed out by the Millwall defence as far as Barkhuizen who chested down and pulled a shot across goal and wide.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The early stages of the second half developed into a scrap, with North End finding very little room to play in against Millwall's organised system.

In fact they had a huge let-off just past the hour mark when the visitors missed a golden opportunity at the other end.

Ben Davies got caught in two minds as he went to deal with a ball forward 10 yards inside his own half.

Bradshaw nicked it off his foot and ran clear into the acres of space behind to go one-on-one with Rudd.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As the striker reached the box he hit a powerful rising shot which clipped off the top of the bar and over.

Millwall forced a couple of a corners in quick succession, one which saw Hutchinson's header saved at the far post by Rudd.

Paul Gallagher and Josh Harrop replaced Alan Browne and Sinclair in a double change after 65 minutes, with Maguire later coming on for Nugent.

Millwall took the lead in the 78th minute, Murray Wallace looping a header over the Preston defence which Hutchinson timed his run well to meet and head past Rudd.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It needed a fine save from Rudd five minutes later to prevent North End falling further behind.

Substitute Connor Mahoney fastened on to a through ball to take it into the box, his shot blocked by Rudd as he dashed out to cover.

North End came close to an equaliser a minute into stoppage-time.

Cooper's foul on Barkhuizen five yards outside the box brought PNE a free-kick and the Millwall man a yellow card.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Gallagher curled the free-kick right-footed around the wall, Bialkowski diving to his right to get both gloves to it and parry it clear.

PNE: Rudd, Clarke, Bauer, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Browne (Gallagher 65), Barkhuizen, Johnson, Sinclair (Harrop 65) Nugent (Maguire 76). Subs (not used): Hudson, Rafferty, Potts, Stockley.

Millwall: Bialkowski, Hutchinson, Pearce, Cooper, Romeo, Molumby, Woods, M Wallace, J Wallace (Smith 90), Bodvarsson (Leonard 85), Bradshaw (Mahoney 75). Subs (not used): Ferguson, O'Brien, Skalak, Steele.

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)

Attendance: 12,468 (724 away)