Match report: QPR 1 PNE 2

Preston North End came back from a goal down to beat Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road to give their play-off hopes a huge boost.

Saturday, 14th April 2018, 6:08 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th April 2018, 6:41 pm
Callum Robinson turns to celebrate his goal at the end of the first half

Callum Robinson and Alan Browne claimed the goals to deliver the three points in London - very much a case of capital gains in the race for the top six.

Like against Leeds earlier in the week, North End fell behind in the 13th minute - Matt Smith netting for the hosts from close range at the second phase of a set-piece.

Robinson equalised from close range in the 45th minute, a cross from Darnell Fisher hitting him on the foot and rolling over the line.

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QPR keeper Matt Ingram collects a high cross against PNE

The second came from Browne, although was credited to Robinson initially.

Browne climbed to meet a Paul Gallagher delivery and head it goalwards, Robinson touching it as it went over the line - the Hawkeye system showing it was Browne's goal.

Who scored mattered little for 1,257 travelling Preston supporters who celebrated wildly in the away end.

Victory moved PNE up to eighth place, just three points behind the play-offs with three games to go.

QPR keeper Matt Ingram collects a high cross against PNE

North End Alex Neil had made three changes from last Tuesday night's 3-1 win over Leeds, with Fisher, Daniel Johnson and Robinson coming in.

Sean Maguire missed out because of a hamstring injury, while Paul Gallagher and Ben Davies dropped to the bench - this the first time Davies hadn't started for a while.

The game's first chance dropped to Preston, with Greg Cunningham sending a volley straight at the keeper from Clarke's knock down after the ball had been returned into the box following a corner.

QPR drew first blood by taking the lead in the 13th minute, a similar time to when Leeds and Reading had scored their openers in the last two matches.

Ryan Manning's free-kick from the left channel was headed out of the box by Browne, Manning first to the loose ball to return it into the box.

The North End defence pushed out but Fisher appeared to play Smith onside, the big striker left with the simple task of prodding the ball into the net from inside the six-yard box.

It was a scrappy first half, the play in general untidy with little pattern to it.

Declan Rudd made a good save to tip a Manning header over the bar after Smith had headed a cross into his path.

In the 38th minute Browne charged down a clearance to the side of the box from goalkeeper Matt Ingram and as he scrambled to reach the loose ball, the midfielder was fouled by Ingram - it earning the keeper a yellow card and PNE a free-kick.

Billy Bodin delivered it to the far post where Paul Huntington's downward header was blocked by Ingram and put out for a corner.

North End's equaliser arrived right on half-time.

Bodin carried the ball forward into the box and played Fisher in on the overlap to the right of him.

Fisher put a low cross into the six-yard box which hit Robinson on the foot and clipped over ex-PNE loanee Alex Baptiste before trickling over the line - Ingram scooping the ball out but the assistant flagged that it had crossed the line.

There was concern early in the second half when Huntington got caught in the face by Ingram as they competed in the air for a Robinson corner.

The centre-half was on the floor for a couple of minutes with both clubs' physios in attendance but thankfully he got up and was able to carry on.

As the hour mark approached, Johnson played a pass behind the QPR defence which Ingram had to slide out to collect as Tom Barkhuizen looked to get on the end of it.

Gallagher and Josh Harrop were introduced from the bench in the 62nd minute, replacing Johnson and Bodin.

North End began to exert pressure on their hosts, Robinson sending a low shot wide of the far post after getting room down the right hand side of the box.

They had the ball in the net in the 66th minute when Gallagher's cross was headed back across goal by Clarke and Robinson turned the ball over the line - but the flag had gone up against Clarke.

However, it did count in the 74th minute when North End took the lead.

Gallagher's free-kick was played deep to the far post, Browne climbed to head it goalwards - Robinson making sure.

North End saw out the closing stages well, not having too many scares.

In fact they almost scored a third goal in stoppage-time when Barkhuizen's shot was parried by Ingram.

QPR: Ingram, Furlong, Baptiste, Robinson, Bidwell, Manning, Luongo, Cousins, Osayi-Samuel (Smyth 61), Eze, Smith (Sylla 61). Subs (not used): Freeman, Scowen, Wszlek, Kakay, Smithies.

PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Clarke, Huntington, Cunningham, Pearson, Browne, Bodin (Gallagher 62), Johnson (Harrop 62) Barkhuizen, Robinson (Horgan 90). Subs (not used): Davies, Earl, Moult, Maxwell.

Referee: Robert Jones (Merseyside)

Attendance: 13,760 (1,257 PNE)