Preston North End 0 Nottingham Forest 1 - Match report from Deepdale as a controversial penalty ends PNE's winning run

Preston North End's three-game winning run was ended by Nottingham Forest in somewhat controversial circumstances at Deepdale.

Saturday, 2nd January 2021, 5:22 pm
Updated Saturday, 2nd January 2021, 5:32 pm

Lewis Grabban scored the contest's only goal from the penalty spot in the 60th minute.

There was nothing wrong with the decision to award the spot kick for handball against Darnell Fisher.

But Grabban slipped as he stepped-up to take the penalty and seemed to get a double touch on the ball which should have seen it ruled out.

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil makes his point to referee Tim Robinson at the final whistle

The result was somewhat harsh on North End who had the better second-half chances, with them twice hitting the woodwork.

A dreadful first half from both sides produced little goalmouth action but things improved after the break in terms of it being a spectacle.

Tom Barkhuizen had four good sights of goal, one of those hitting the bar.

Ben Davies was the other PNE player denied by the woodwork, his 82nd minute shot coming back off the bar as North End pushed for an equaliser.

PNE skipper Daniel Johnson leads the protests after Nottingham Forest's penalty

Deep into stoppage-time, Forest keeper Brice Samba produced a good save to push substitute Paul Gallagher's free-kick behind.

The North End side had shown three changes to the one which had beaten Coventry last Tuesday night, Tom Bayliss, Ryan Ledson and Brad Potts coming into the starting XI.

Bayliss took over from the injured Alan Browne, with Gallagher and Josh Earl dropping to the bench.

After going three at the back against Coventry, they switched back to 4-2-3-1.

Lewis Grabban scores Nottingham Forest's penalty against PNE

The first half was something of a non-event, a yellow ball used for better visibility on a pitch which was white in patches from earlier snowfall and frost.

An early shot from Anthony Knockaert was blocked by Davies, while the same player lifted a close-range effort over the bar after being teed-up by Grabban.

North End's forward play was limited to the occasional attack, their one chance of note coming a couple of minutes before half-time.

Bayliss' cross from the left was headed down by Fisher to Ledson, with the midfielder's shot blocked at close quarters.

PNE left-back Andrew Hughes in action against Nottingham Forest

PNE much brighter after the interval, carrying more of threat going forward.

Three chances fell the way of Tom Barkhuizen as the hosts lifted the tempo.

Barkhuizen drove through midfield as space opened up in the 49th minute, his shot from 20 yards clearing the bar.

Four minutes later Daniel Johnson chased a pass down the right channel, got to the byline and cut the ball back.

It clipped off a Forest defender and travelled to Barkhuizen whose header was superbly tipped behind by keeper Brice Samba.

The woodwork was then to deny Barkhuizen, the winger's curling left-foot shot from the right-hand side of the box hitting the bar and bouncing over. - Potts pass having found him.

Forest went close in the 63rd minute, Sammy Ameobi driving a first-time drive from 20 yards inches over the bar.

Barkhuizen blazed a shot over the bar, Potts' blocked effort having rebounded into his path, before Forest took a 69th minute lead.

Fisher handled the ball when he stumbled in front of Cafu as the Forest man weaved his way into the box.

Grabban slipped as he rolled the penalty into the net, North End protesting that he had doubled touched the spot kick and replays backed that up.

Emil Riis and Gallagher replaced Bayliss and Potts in a double change in the 77th minute.

The woodwork denied North End a second time with eight minutes left, Davies making space himself in the box after a scramble and seeing a left-foot shot come back off the bar.

Eight minutes into stoppage-time, PNE won a free-kick 25 yards out when Stockley was fouled by Samba Sow.

Gallagher's free-kick stayed low, Samba diving to push it behind.

PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Hughes, Ledson, Bayliss (Gallagher 77), Potts (Riis 77), Johnson, Barkhuizen, Maguire (Stockley 87). Subs (not used): Earl, Storey, Rafferty, Holland-Wilkinson, O'Reilly, Ripley.

Forest: Samba, Christie, Figueiredo, Worrall, Ribeiro, Yates, Sow, Ameobi (Lolley 63), Cafu (Arter 88), Knockaert, Grabban (Taylor 90). Subs (not used): Bong, Jenkinson, Mighten, Guerrero, McKenna, Smith.

Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex)

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