Preston North End 2 Charlton Athletic 1 - Match report from Deepdale on PNE's first victory of 2020
Preston North End fought back from conceding an early goal to beat Charlton Athletic at Deepdale.
Former PNE loanee Andre Green had given the Addicks a fifth-minute lead, netting from close-range after Alfie Doughty had pulled the ball back into his path.
Man of the match Josh Harrop brought the Lilywhites level in the 31st minute with a superb finish from the edge of the box, his third goal in three games.
The winner came from Patrick Bauer seven minutes into the second half, the former Charlton defender meeting Harrop's corner to head home.
This was North End's first victory since they beat Luton on December 14 and only the second time they had come from behind to win a game this season.
After the setback of falling behind so early, they responded positively and in Harrop had someone operating with so much confidence on and off the ball.
Harrop was played in the No.10 role and he certainly revelled in that position, a lot of PNE's play channelled through him.
The return of Daniel Johnson to the midfield was key too, bringing more creativity.
The North End starting XI showed three changes to the side which had drawn 1-1 at Blackburn the week before.
Illness ruled out Ben Pearson, Paul Gallagher was injured and Tom Clarke dropped down to the bench.
There was a home debut for Scott Sinclair, Johnson returned from a nine-game absence with a knee injury and Darnell Fisher got the nod at right-back.
Sinclair played on the left-wing, Tom Barkhuizen on the right, Sean Maguire again given the central attacking position.
Charlton stunned them by scoring the game's first chance inside the opening five minutes.
Predictably it came from former PNE loan man Green who joined Charlton earlier in the month after his time at Preston was cut short.
Alfie Doughty set it up, speeding past Fisher down the left hand side of the box and cutting the ball back for Green to net from close range at the near post.
North End had plenty of possession from then on, Harrop influencing the game in his central role.
He saw a low shot gathered by keeper Dillon Phillips at the second attempt in the 18th minute, while Johnson saw a left-foot effort from the edge of the box dip just over the bar.
PNE pulled level just past the half hour and it was a goal of quality from Harrop.
Collecting possession down the inside right channel, Harrop knocked the ball to Fisher on the outside before taking the return pass from the right-back.
That brought him in field and he curled a left-foot shot into the far top corner from the edge of the box.
Less than two minutes after the equaliser, Sinclair drove forward through the middle and hit a low shot from the edge of the box which Phillips dived to parry, the flag going up against Harrop as he moved in to meet the rebound.
Four minutes before the interval, Harrop's free-kick from the right was met by Bauer his header lacked power and the keeper saved.
Early in the second half Sinclair lifted a shot over the bar as the referee let play go on after Maguire went down in the box under the challenge.
North End went in front in the 52nd minute, Johnson winning a corner on the right after chasing a Fisher pass to the byline and seeing his cross blocked.
Harrop delivered the flag-kick into the middle, Bauer rising eight yards out to head home.
There was no celebration of sorts from the German in respect of the club he served for four seasons.
More chances came PNE's way following the goal, Barkhuizen cutting inside off the wing and seeing a shot held by Phillips.
Fisher's cross from the right was met on the run by Maguire, the Irishman's header looping over the bar.
Then when North End counter-attacked Charlton, the move ended with Barkhuizen's shot clipping off a defender and going over the bar.
Sinclair showed the speed he has when he won the ball deep in his own half and motored up field, evading the attempts of Darren Pratley to drag him back.
As he approached the box he should have squared to substitute David Nugent but chose to shoot instead, his effort ending-up in the Alan Kelly Town End.
Good interaction between Nugent and Barkhuizen down the left side saw Nugent turn the ball into the path of PNE's No.29 who saw his low shot saved at the near post by Phillips.
Nugent met Fisher's 85th minute cross on the volley but Phillips got down to save.
PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Rafferty, Browne, Johnson (Ledson 82), Barkhuizen, Harrop (Potts 89), Sinclair, Maguire (Nugent 64). Subs (not used): Clarke, Stockley, Huntington, Ripley.
Charlton: Phillips, Oshilaja (Morgan 62), Lockyer, Sarr, Matthews, Pratley, Dempsey, Doughty, Williams (Oztumer 62), Green (Hemed 68), Davison. Subs (not used): Purrington, Pearce, Morgan, Maynard-Brewer.
Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northampshire)
Attendance: 12,358 (873 away)