Preston North End 2-1 Middlesbrough - Late drama as PNE take all three points in stoppage time

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Preston North End left it late to secure all three points at Deepdale coming from behind to beat Middlesbrough 2-1.

Chuba Akpom opened the scoring for the visitors, nodding home from short range from a corner, before Emil Riis volleyed PNE level and Jordan Storey headed in the winner in second half stoppage time.

PNE boss Ryan Lowe made some surprise changes for the game, opting to start with four at the back for the first time in his reign.It was the second home win for North End this season and they doubled their home goal tally in the process too.

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Brad Potts started at right back with Alvaro Fernandez at left back, with Ben Whiteman, Ali McCann and Alan Browne in midfield, Robbie Brady and Ben Woodburn out wide.

Preston North End's Emil Riis scores his team’s goal.Preston North End's Emil Riis scores his team’s goal.
Preston North End's Emil Riis scores his team’s goal.

Greg Cunningham and Ryan Ledson dropped to the bench for Michael Carrick's first game as a full time head coach in the Boro dugout.

He switched up the visitors' system away from the three at the back that they have been playing most of the season but they saw rewards for their switch the soonest.

Akpom got a sight at goal after six minutes, getting a bit of room inside the PNE box but seeing his shot blocked.

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He was not to be denied two minutes later however as he gave the Teesside club the lead. A corner from the right was delivered into the near post, Brady ducked under the ball and as Freddie Woodman came scrambling towards his near post the ball skidded on to Akpom who had got away from Ben Whiteman to nod in from just a yard out.

A Brady shot on 18 minutes was the only action of not from the home side in the opening exchanges, with a penalty shout nine minutes later.

North End worked the ball excellently from right to left to get the ball forward, with Fernandez delivering from the left wing into Woodburn whose shot appeared to strike an arm, but claims were waved away by referee Grant Ward.

There could be no denying their next opportunity however as Riis drew them level. After 35 minutes Brady delivered a free kick from the left that was not cleared, Liam Lindsay flicked the ball on and Riis smashed the ball into the top corner on the volley in a flash.

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Boro had a chance to get themselves back in the lead just three minutes before the break, Ryan Giles' cross from the left turned just beyond the far post by Akpom.

But North End responded, Woodburn's marvelous strike swerving narrowly past the top corner from the left side of the area.

Preston were off the pace as they started the second half but despite the away side having the better of the ball they could not muster a chance until just before the hour. The home side switched off from a recycled corner and Rodrigo Muniz brought the ball down six yards out, his effort just about smothered and behind for a corner.

Muniz went close again after 62 minutes, Boro given plenty of time down the left to allow their men to get forward, this time their no.9 headed just beyond the far post.

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PNE thought they had themselves the lead just three minutes later, Brady's corner headed back towards the near post by Storey and Browne turned the ball home. Unfortunately for Lowe's side Riis was adjudged to have been offside in the middle as the Dane swung at the ball - and missed.

Fernandez had a shot saved by Zack Steffen in the Boro goal with 10 minutes to go, although it was comfortable for the American to drop onto.

North End switched to three at the back with 15 minutes to go but went back to four five minutes before the end.

They kept trying to find a way to score and they did, in stoppage time. Ryan Ledson, off the bench, clipped a free kick to the far post where Lindsay kept it alive, volleying the ball into the middle for Storey to head into the back of the net. Sparking pandemonium on the pitch and in the stands as North End won it.

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PNE Starting XI: Woodman, Potts, Storey, Lindsay, Fernandez (Johnson, 86'), Whiteman (Ledson, 56'), McCann, Browne, Woodburn (Evans, 86'), Riis, Brady (Hughes, 75').

PNE Subs: Cornell, Cunningham, Maguire.Middlesbrough Starting XI: Steffen, Smith, Fry, Lenihan, Giles, McGree (Mowatt, 85'), Howson, Hackney, Jones, Akpom, Muniz (Forss, 71').

Middlesbrough Subs: Roberts, Dijksteel, Bola, McNair, Hoppe.

Attendance: 16,984 (2,839 away)