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Report: Preston North End 3-2 Rovers

Rovers surrender a two-goal lead on derby day as Alex Neil's Lilywhites respond with three second half goals without reply

26 October 2019

Preston North End hit back with three second half strikes to earn the East Lancashire bragging rights at a chilly Deepdale despite Sam Gallagher's first half double.

Tom Barkhuizen bagged two of the North End goals, either side of a Daniel Johnson penalty which levelled the scores just after the hour mark.

Sam Gallagher had given Rovers a dream start on the road before making it 2-0 soon after that put Rovers in command at the break.

An error from Christian Walton for PNE's first of the afternoon proved to be the turning point in the encounter, failing to grab a cross that allowed Barkhuizen to set up the hosts' comeback.

Amari'i Bell, Joe Rothwell and Corry Evans come back into the team in place of Lewis Travis, Bradley Johnson and Stewart Downing in three changes made by Tony Mowbray at Deepdale.

For the hosts, ex-Rover Paul Gallagher captained the side, playing alongside Ben Pearson in a central midfield position.

Gallagher was one of two changes for the hosts, with Sean Maguire - also returning to the PNE team.

Rovers got themselves off to a dream start just 30 seconds into the encounter and it was the other Gallagher who got it.

It began with a positive run from Bell, whose deep cross found Adam Armstrong. After taking a touch, the 22-year-old put a ball into a dangerous area and Gallagher was there to direct a header into the back of the net via Declan Rudd's right-hand post.

Preston's Gallagher went close to equalising soon after, but his attempt from a free kick was tipped over by Christian Walton, before the Rovers stopper held Patrick Bauer's header.

But just seconds later Rovers and Gallagher had their second of the afternoon. A lucky break fell kindly for the frontman, who took a touch before confidently curling a left-footed effort beyond Rudd and into the far corner.

It was a superb first half display from Rovers, who were dominant through the opening 45 minutes and defended well to restrict the hosts to half chances in arguably our best 45 minute performance of the campaign.

Rovers kept up the tempo after the interval and Derrick Williams nodded a dinked Bradley Dack cross just past the post only a minute into the second half.

Preston did come to life a few minutes later, with Walton forced to beat away a left-footed volley from Alan Browne as the clean sheet remained intact.

But it didn't last long, with Walton at fault for the home side getting a lifeline in the game. He misjudged a deep cross, expecting it to go out of play, but it was kept in by Sean Maguire and Barkhuizen was in the right place to simply tap into an empty net from a couple of yards out.

That gave the hosts a real shot in the arm and Barhuizen smashed a long range strike straight down the throat of Walton.

But just after the hour the hosts were awarded a great opportunity to get back on level terms are Bennett tugged at Browne's shirt. Up stepped Johnson from the spot to send Walton the wrong way and wipe out Rovers' half time lead.

Rovers went in search of regaining the lead with time running out and Armstrong curled an effort over that had too much power on it.

But at the other end Preston turned the score on its head with Barkhuizen tucking in his second and his side's third after being set up by Browne.

Walton had to be alert to tip over a Darnell Fisher free kick in the final stages as Alex Neil's team looked to seal the points with three minutes remaining.

The visitors failed to pick up what would have been a dramatic equaliser and were sent home with nothing to show for their efforts on such a disappointing day for Rovers.

Preston North End: Rudd, Fisher, Bauer, Rafferty, Hughes, Gallagher (c) (Stockley, 29), Pearson, Johnson, Maguire (Potts, 90), Barkhuizen, Browne.

Unused substitutes: Hudson, Ledson, Bodin, Nugent, Storey.

Goals: Barkhuizen, 54, 81 Johnson, 65

Rovers: Walton, Nyambe, Adarabioyo, Williams, Bell, Bennett (c), Evans, Armstrong, Dack, Rothwell (Graham, 83), Gallagher.

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Johnson, Downing, Travis, Rankin-Costello, Buckley.

Goals: Gallagher, 1, 12

Booked: Gallagher, 69, Dack, 86

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 19,165


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