Preston North End 4-3 Brentford: Callum Robinson scores twice as Lilywhites get the better of thriller
'‹Preston North End scored four goals for the second straight home game as they got the better of a seven-goal bonanza with Brentford.
Three goals in the opening 23 minutes from Alan Browne, Callum Robinson and Tom Barkhuizen, who deflected home a Lukas Nmecha shot, looked to have put them out of sight.
But Sergi Canos’ 25-yarder reduced the arrears before Ollie Watkins’ goal 10 minutes after the break set nerves jangling.
PNE looked to have made sure of victory with Robinson’s second 20 minutes from time only for Neal Maupay’s close-range finish five minutes from time to ensure it was game on until the final whistle, the hosts holding on to make it four games unbeaten.
Within minutes kick-off it was plain to see why there had never been a goalless draw between the sides in 26 previous meetings at Deepdale.
Those games have averaged four goals over the course of the years and they came within a frantic first half an hour on Wednesday night.
North End couldn’t have asked for a better start, opening the scoring just five minutes in.
Robinson’s shot on the edge of the area deflected into the path of 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 act himself.
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.
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.
That fourth goal of the game seemed to settle things a little.
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.
But it was Brentford who finished the opening half on the front foot, Romaine Sawyers going close twice in the space of a couple of minutes as the first period wound down.
It was the visitors who then nearly reduced the arrears just moments after the interval.
As PNE failed to clear their lines, Robinson was robbed of the ball on the edge of his own area with Maupay’s shot being beaten away by Maxwell who was then needed to save the follow up from Canos with his legs.
An end-to-end game didn’t disappoint as Alex Neil’s side went straight up the other end and nearly increased their advantage, Ben Pearson exchanging passes with Nmecha before seeing a shot saved by Bentley.
It was the Bees who got the crucial next goal though and it was a soft one for PNE.
Fisher needlessly conceded a corner and the hosts were made to pay, the ball being worked short for 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.
A corner wasn’t dealt with and the in-form front man 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.
PNE: Maxwell, Fisher, Huntington (capt), Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Johnson (Gallagher 90), Barkhuizen (Maguire 89), Browne, Robinson, Nmecha (Moult 90). Subs not used: Rudd, Earl, Storey, Barker.
Brentford: Bentley, Odubajo, Dalsgaard (capt), Konsa, Barbet, Yennaris, Mokotjo, Canos (Judge 76), Sawyers (Macleod 70), Watkins (Benrahma 70), Maupay. Subs not used: Daniels, McEachran, Judge, Carroll.
Referee: Scott Duncan
Attendance: 10,883 (268 Brentford fans)