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Match Reports

Report: Preston 3 Rovers 2

10 December 2016

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Rovers suffered their first defeat in four outings as Callum Robinson's late strike gave Preston North End the points.

Danny Graham twice got Rovers back on level terms after Daniel Johnson had given the home side the lead, but ten minutes from time Robinson struck the decisive blow.
Rovers ended the match with four forwards on the pitch, but despite pressing long into the Lancashire night, they were unable to muster a third comeback goal.
After an even opening in which the lively atmosphere from both sets of supporters stole the show, it was the hosts who drew first blood at Deepdale.
Robinson took on the returning Ben Marshall down the left and as his ball in to Jordan Hugill was laid back to the edge of the area, Johnson emphatically swept it home.
But the home side's lead would last just four minutes as Rovers quickly got back on level terms.
A clever turn in the box saw Sam Gallagher crashing to the ground under the challenge of Bailey Wright for a penalty kick, and although Chris Maxwell saved Graham's penalty, and the follow-up, the Rovers striker finally found the back of the net at the third attempt.
Greg Cunningham warmed the gloves of Jason Steele from distance, whilst Derrick Williams saw a back post header scrambled behind in what was proving to be an open encounter.
But on the half hour the home side were awarded a penalty kick of their own when Darragh Lenihan handled in the area after Steele had spectacularly kept out the header of Simon Makienok.
Johnson took the honours and made no mistake from 12 yards to put the Lilywhites back in front.
Robinson let fly with a 25-yard effort that just cleared the bar, but it was Rovers who ended the first half strongly and should have gone in all square at the break.
A deft header from Graham needed fingertips from a back-pedalling Maxwell, before the final action of the half saw Lenihan somehow head wide when it seemed easier to hit the target.
The start of the second half saw Rovers appeal for another penalty kick after Corry Evans went down in the box. The Northern Ireland international brilliantly brought down a pin-point pass from Charlie Mulgrew, but then saw his feet taken from under him. However referee Kevin Friend was unmoved.
Rovers then brought on Marvin Emnes for Liam Feeney as they looked to get back on level terms, but it was the hosts who threatened when Hugill volleyed over the bar.
Urged on by 3000 travelling Roverites, only a great tackle from Wright stopped Graham from getting a clean strike on goal. But as they continued to up the ante, they would get their reward on 70 minutes.
Like Graham's goal against Derby County, Rovers remained patient in possession, keeping the ball moving with a host of passess before Williams slipped the ball in to Graham and he fired home at the near post to make it 2-2.
Preston roared back as Hugill nodded wide, before former Rover Alex Baptiste did likewise.
The visitors were then delt a blow as the impressive Charlie Mulgrew went off on 79 minutes. His replacement Gordon Greer had barely time to join his defensive colleagues when Preston scored their third and decisive goal.
Cutting in from the left Greg Cunningham found Robinson inside the area and he cleverly took a touch before slamming the ball low into the back of the net.
Rovers threw on Anthony Stokes as they went in search of a third equaliser, but the closest they would come was a free-kick from Marshall that flashed inches over the crossbar.
Some seven additional minutes were played, but Rovers failed to muster any further chances as Preston claimed the bragging rights.
PRESTON: Maxwell, Vermijl (sub Spurr 88 mins), Cunningham, Pearson, Clarke (c), Wright, Makienok, Johnson, Hugill (sub Pringle 76 mins), Baptiste, Robinson (sub Huntington 90+7 mins).
Subs not used: Lindegaard (GK), Brown, Grimshaw, May.
Goals: Johnson 18, 31 (pen) mins, Robinson 80 mins.
Booked: Clarke 52 mins
ROVERS: Steele, Marshall, Lenihan, Mulgrew (sub Greer 79 mins), Williams, Feeney (sub Emnes 53 mins)(, Lowe (c), Evans, Conway (sub Stokes 87 mins), Gallagher, Graham.
Subs not used: Raya (GK), Byrne, Akpan, Bennett.
Goals: Graham 22, 70 mins
Booked: Lenihan 30 mins, Marshall 60 mins
Attendance: 14,527 (including 2,529 Rovers fans)

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