Sheffield Wednesday 1 Preston North End 0 match report: Defeat for the Lilywhites at Hillsborough

Preston North End went down to defeat against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, undone by a goal on the stroke of half-time.

By Dave Seddon
Saturday, 30th January 2021, 5:09 pm
Updated Sunday, 31st January 2021, 1:28 am

Liam Palmer turned the ball into the net in the 45th minute after North End failed to deal with a header back across goal from a long throw-in.

They'd enjoyed the better of the first half without creating too much, so the Wednesday goal was a real sucker punch.

In the second half their best chance to equalise came when Ben Whiteman lifted a shot over the bar from Jayson Molumby's cross from the byline.

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Preston's Ben Whiteman and Paul Huntington challenge Sheffield Wednesday's Callum Paterson

Whiteman should have scored and after that, PNE didn't create too much from an attacking point of view.

They huffed and puffed, got the ball into some decent areas approaching the box but too often the final ball and pass was the wrong one.

The North End starting XI had shown just one change, Andrew Hughes returning at left-back in place of Joe Rafferty.

Greg Cunningham, who returned to Deepdale during the week on loan from Cardiff, was among the substitutes.

Liam Palmer scores Sheffield Wednesday's winner against PNE

There was a return on the bench too for Billy Bodin following knee surgery.

It was the home side who had the brighter start, Barry Bannan driving a shot too high in the second minute after a long throw-in had been cleared out of the PNE box.

Calum Paterson curled a shot wide after creating room for himself with a neat turn.

North End settled down after that opening spell and looked the more composed side as the half wore on.

PNE midfielder Ryan Ledson is challenged by Barry Bannan

Whiteman's curling shot from 20 yards was shovelled out by keeper Keiran Westwood, with Scott Sinclair unable to get to the loose ball to the right of goal.

In the 22nd minute, Sinclair's fine pass released Emil Riis into space down the right channel, his pull-back into the box finding Sinclair who had continued his run.

Sinclair hit a first-time shot which was blocked by a defender sliding across.

Whiteman saw a free-kick skid wide after he tried to catch out Westwood at his near post, then Molumby had a shot deflected over the bar.

North End skipper Alan Browne challenges with Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiran Westwood

After that promising half hour or so passage of play, North End were caught by a sucker punch on the strike of half-time.

It all started with Ryan Ledson losing possession in midfield, Paterson breaking down the right and seeing his cross headed clear by Paul Huntington.

The resulting long throw-in was flicked across goal, Elias Kachunga nodded it back into the middle and Palmer steered a shot over the line from close range.

Three minutes into the second half, Ben Davies fine cross field ball found the run of Sinclair on the right.

Sinclair squared a pass inside to Brad Potts on the edge of the box, the midfielder making a poor contact and dragging his first-time shot well wide.

Riis sent a shot from the edge of the box straight at Westwood, before two good chances fell in quick succession to PNE.

Davies strong run from the back carried him up the pitch, his pass finding Potts on the edge of the box.

Potts turned and got a shot away, Westwood diving to his left to glove it past the far post..

A great chance fell North End's way in the 67th minute, Molumby getting down the right hand side of the box to the byline where he cut the ball back into the middle.

Whiteman steamed in to meet it but lifted his first-time shot over the bar when he really had to hit the target.

Wednesday responded with a coupe of chances of their own, Palmer firing a shot across the face of the goal, then Daniel Iversen tipped a drive from Bannan over the bar.

Having brought on Tom Barkhuizen and Daniel Johnson in a double change, Alex Neil made a triple swap in the 77th minute.

Cunningham came on his for his second PNE debut, with him joined by Joe Rafferty and Bodin.

The changes had little effect though, North End giving Wednesday few anxious moments as the hosts saw the final stages out comfortably.

Wednesday: Westwood, Palmer, Lees, Urhoghide, Penney, Hutchinson, Pelupessey, Bannan, Reach (Luongo 80), Kachunga (Windass 71), Paterson (Rhodes 83) . Subs (not used): Harris, Borner, Dele-Bushiro, Green, Marriott, Wildsmith.

PNE: Iversen, Browne, Huntington, Davies, Hughes (Rafferty 77), Ledson (Johnson 67), Whiteman, Sinclair, Molumby (Bodin 77), Potts (Barkhuizen 67), Riis (Cunningham 77). Subs (not used): Hudson, Storey, Bayliss, Evans.

Referee: Andre Marriner (Birmingham)

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