Preston North End 1 Blackburn Rovers 4 match report: Humiliating night for PNE in Deepdale derby

Preston North End suffered a humiliating night at the hands of Blackburn Rovers in the derby at Deepdale.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 25th April 2022, 9:38 pm
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 9:39 pm

The Lilywhites were outplayed by their visitors who were two goals to the good inside the opening 12 minutes and too good for their hosts throughout the evening.

Alan Browne gave them some hope with a goal to make it 2-1 but Rovers scored twice more either side of the interval to inflict North End’s worst home defeat since the opening day of the season.

There were zero positives for Ryan Lowe’s side to take from the game, with them never getting to grips with the East Lancashire outfit who outran them, outfought them and controlled proceedings.

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Alan Browne scores for Preston North End against Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale

It was not the performance PNE needed in the week they launch season cards for next season, with the performance there for the eyes of the wide public to see live on Sky Sports.

Sam Gallagher opened the scoring and John Buckley’s deflected long-range drive stretched the lead before North End had even got going.

Browne’s goal in the 29th minute offered some hope but Darragh Lenihan headed a third for Rovers before half-time and Lewis Travis ran through to score a simple fourth early in the second half.

Rovers were able to toy with PNE after the fourth goal an could have stretched their lead further.

Preston North End skipper Alan Browne is congratulated by Daniel Johnson after scoring against Blackburn

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The North End side had shown four changes from the defeat at Fulham, Browne, Emil Riis, Greg Cunningham and Patrick Bauer returning to the side.

They had a bright first few minutes, a foul on Potts in full stride by Harry Pickering bringing the Rovers left-back a yellow card with just 50 seconds played.

But the visitors then took control and stung PNE with two goals in the space of three minutes.

Preston North End right wing-back Brad Potts competes with Blackburn's Harry Pickering

The opening goal came in the ninth minute after Sepp van den Berg gave away a free-kick on Preston’s right channel.

Pickering delivered the free-kick into the middle where it was met by Ben Brereton-Diaz whose angled header hit the inside of the far post.

The ball bounced back across the six-yard box where Gallagher was quickest to react, stooping forward to head the ball into the net.

Worse followed as the Lilywhites fell further behind in the 12th minute. Buckley was given the freedom of midfield to run on to a pass in the PNE half, stride forward and hit a low shot from 25 yards which clipped off Andrew Hughes’ leg and into the bottom corner past Daniel Iversen.

Preston North End's Alan Browne battles with Blackburn Rovers' Sam Gallagher

North End began to get their act together slightly and enjoyed a spell of pressure, that resulting in them pulling a goal back as the half-hour mark approached.

Cunningham came inside off the left-wing, passed to Daniel Johnson, and collected the return pass as he continued his run in field.

The Irishman’s pass found Browne inside the box, Browne chopping inside a challenge on to his left foot and hitting a shot which deflected off Scott Wharton’s chest and flew into the roof of the net.

It was that a lifeline, then North End threw it away it in the 37th minute as they were opened up again from a set piece.

Rovers were awarded a free-kick to the right of centre 25 yards out.

The left-footed Pickering hovered over it looking like he would shoot but it was Rothwell who lifted it across the box and beyond the far post where Lenihan climbed to loop a header back across goal and over Iversen into the far corner.

Potts was PNE’s main creative force in the first half with his runs down the right and one almost led to them reducing the arrears in the 39th minute.

His cross from the right hit Travis who was running back and forced keeper Thomas Kaminski to tip it over the bar.

When a square pass from Riis picked out Johnson in the box, the midfielder opted for placement instead of power and his shot was blocked.

Sean Maguire was introduced from the bench for the start of the second half with Cunningham the man to make way.

North End changed to a 4-4-2 with a diamond shape in midfield, Maguire playing at the point of it behind the strikers.

Before the system switch had any time to take affect, Rovers scored their fourth and it was far too easy.

Brereton-Diaz collected possession from a throw-in on the left and cut in field without a challenge really coming in.

His pass found the run of Travis who took the ball past Hughes as if he wasn’t there and slid a low shot past Iversen.

On the hour, a corner produced a scramble in the visitors’ box with Riis’ shot from close range saved well by Kaminski with his legs.

Iversen did likewise at the other end, getting in the way of a Gallagher shot at the near post.

A header from Brereton-Diaz clipped the top of the bar and went over after he met a cross from the right in the 75th minute.

PNE: Iversen, Van den Berg, Bauer, Hughes (Rafferty 70), Potts, Whiteman (McCann 83), Browne, Johnson, Cunningham (Maguire 46), Archer, Riis. Subs (not used): Ripley, Lindsay, O'Neill, SInclair.

Blackburn: Kaminski, Lenihan, Van Hecke, Wharton, Pickering, Travis, Rothwell (Edun 87), Buckley (Dack 87), Hedges, Brereton-Diaz, Gallagher (Poveda 78). Subs (not used): Pears, Ayala, Zeefuik, Dolan.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Carnforth)

Attendance: 15,229 (3,361 away)