Preston North End 3 Huddersfield Town 0 match report: Welcome Deepdale victory for the Lilywhites
Preston North End recorded their first victory at Deepdale of 2021, convincingly beating Huddersfield Town.
Brad Potts, Ched Evans and Scott Sinclair found the net in an entertaining clash, the visitors making a good fight of it in the first half before North End got on top in the second.
The opening goal came in the 23rd minute after Huddersfield had started the brighter of the sides, Potts scoring with a low shot on the rebound after Sinclair's effort had been blocked by keeper Ryan Schofield.
It was a lead extended in the 67th minute, Evans turning home a low cross from Potts who had an excellent game in midfield.
Victory was wrapped-up 10 minutes from time with a fine move on the break, Sinclair meeting a cross from substitute Tom Barkhuizen to finish well.
Potts had also hit the bar with a shot in the second half as PNE played with a lot more confidence going forward than of late.
Evans produced a hard-working display up front, his work-rate deserving of the goal he scored.
It was a second clean sheet in a row for North End, an aspect of the win which will have pleased North End manager Alex Neil.
Neil had stuck with the side which started last Wednesday night's 0-0 draw with Queens Park Rangers, naming the same bench too.
Huddersfield had the first opening of the game in the fifth minute, Isaac Mbenza's drive from the edge of the box helped over by the bar by North End goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.
PNE skipper Alan Browne fired over the bar from 20 yards after being found by Anthony Gordon's pass.
Huddersfield edged the opening spell, Pipa's shot pushed out by Iversen while the visitors' bench shouted loudly for a penalty when Fraizer Campbell and Andrew Hughes tangled down the side of the box.
In the 20th minute, Duane Holmes' slid the ball behind the North End defence for Lewis O'Brien to reach, the midfielder's shot smothered at close quarters by Iversen who was quickly off his line.
Three minutes after that Huddersfield chance, the Lilywhites went ahead.
Evans' dropped deep to get possession and threaded a fine through ball to release Sinclair on goal.
One-on-one with Schofield, Sinclair saw his shot bounce off the Terriers keeper, the rebound falling to Potts to the right of goal, the midfielder drilling in a low shot which Naby Sarr got a touch to on the line but couldn't keep out.
Five minutes before half-time, Juninho Bacuna's low shot was saved comfortably by Iversen diving to his left.
Potts tried his luck again 10 minutes into the second half with a low shot from outside the box which lacked power and Schofield gathered easily.
He went much closer in the 58th minute, Greg Cunningham's pass finding Evans on the edge of the box who laid the ball back to Potts on the edge of the 'D'.
The midfielder's right-foot shot beat the keeper and hit the bar before going over.
Potts continued to be in the thick of the action, latching on to a pass from Evans to try his luck from outside the box in the 64th minute - Schofield gathering.
North End got their second goal in the 69th minute, Browne's pass from the centre-circle chased by Potts up the left channel.
He reached it on the side of the box, squaring a pass inside to Evans who saw his shot clip off Sarr on its way into the net.
Barkhuizen replaced Gordon in the 77th minute and within three minutes ther substitute had an assist in the bag for PNE's third goal.
Evans got possession near half-way and with the outside of his right foot bent a fine pass down the left for Barkhuizen to run and meet.
Without breaking stride Barkhuizen sent over a cross which travelled across the box and ran into the path of Sinclair who finished clinically with a first-time shot.
In the closing stages, Iversen had to palm Bacuna's curling free-kick from the left-wing over the bar but other than that there was little threat to North End's three-goal lead.
PNE: Iversen, van den Berg, Storey, Hughes, Cunningham, Browne (Molumby 90), Whiteman, Sinclair (Johnson 90), Potts, Gordon (Barkhuizen 77), Evans. Subs (not used): Bayliss, Rafferty, Riis, Huntington, Rodwell-Grant, Ripley.
Huddersfield: Schofield, Edmonds-Green (Rowe 46), Keogh (Stearmann 75), Sarr, Pipa, Bacuna, Vallejo, Holmes (Phillips 54), O'Brien, Campbell (Sanogo 75), Mbenza (High 69). Subs (not used): Pritchard, Duhaney, Thomas, Pereira.
Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight)
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