Memory match: Preston North End and Brentford serve-up a goals feast at Deepdale
Preston and Brentford have down the years produced a fair number of high-scoring games when they have met at Deepdale.
One of those encounters came in October 2018 when the Lilywhites ran out 4-3 winners.
They were 2-0 up inside 12 minutes, 3-1 to the good by half-time, but had to cling on to their lead in the closing stages before securing the three points.
Brentford had recently appointed Thomas Frank as head coach, replacing Dean Smith who had left to join Aston Villa. Frank had been on Smith’s coaching staff.
This defeat formed part of a tough start for Frank, one he recovered from to become one of the most respected coaches at this level.
For PNE, the victory came in a nine-match unbeaten run which helped them recover from a poor start to the 2018/19 season.
They couldn’t have asked for a better start, opening the scoring just five minutes in.
Callum Robinson’s shot on the edge of the area deflected into the path of Alan Browne who poked the ball beyond the on-rushing Daniel Bentley and in, putting his body on the line in the process.
It was two with just 12 minutes on the clock as Robinson got in on the scoring act.
Taking a ball from Darnell Fisher on the edge of the area, PNE’s top scorer hammered in a low shot from 25 yards.
Those fans on their feet at Deepdale didn’t have to wait long for a third goal. Just a quarter of the game was gone when Brentford keeper Bentley inexplicably picked up a backpass.
That handed PNE an indirect free-kick 15 yards out, the ball being rolled to Lukas Nmecha who fired a shot goalwards that hit Barkhuizen and deflected in.
The first twist of the night came on 29 minutes however.
Sergi Canos took the ball 25 yards from goal and with little seemingly on, cut in from the left and fired a fine, right-footed shot into the top corner, leaving Chris Maxwell with no chance.
Nmecha, in the thick of things for North End, went close for the hosts either side of Canos’ goal, one shot being saved before a second was helped into the side netting.
Maxwell made a double save from Canos and Neal Maupay, while Ben Pearson went close for PNE after playing a one-two with Nmecha.
The Bees pulled it back to 3-2 in the 56th minute and it was a soft goal to give away from Preston’s perspective. Fisher needlessly conceded a corner and the hosts were made to pay, the ball being worked short for Ollie Watkins whose shot from the edge of the area took deflections off Fisher and Barkhuizen as it beat Maxwell.
The game then ebbed and flowed before the crucial sixth goal of the night went to the home side.
Daniel Johnson made the game-breaking burst into the box and slid the ball across the area for Robinson to get his second of the night.
While the two-goal cushion was much needed it was far from game over.
Maupay fired a shot into the side netting and the Frenchman was to get his goal on 85 minutes to reduce the deficit.
A corner wasn’t dealt with and the in-form frontman made it 11 for the season from close range.
That was the final twist of the night, though, substitute Said Benrahma’s shot the closest the visitors came to a dramatic leveller in stoppage time.
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