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Report: Rovers 1-2 Preston North End

Rovers suffer defeat to the Lilywhites at Ewood Park despite Adam Armstrong's penalty

12 February 2021

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A spot kick from Adam Armstrong wasn't enough as Preston North End earned the East Lancashire bragging rights with a narrow victory at a freezing Ewood Park.

Armstrong struck from 12 yards on the stroke of half-time, but the damage was done before the goal.

Ex-Rover Greg Cunningham came back to haunt his old club when he thundered a left-footed drive beyond Thomas Kaminski, before sloppy defending allowed Liam Lindsay to tap home from close range just a minute before Armstrong halved the deficit.

There was plenty of huff and puff from Rovers in the second half, with Dack heading over Daniel Iversen's goal the closest the hosts came to grabbing an equaliser.

Preston had their chances to make the game same though, most notably through Tom Barkhuizen and substitute Emil Riis.

But it wasn't to be Rovers' night in Baltic conditions, and Tony Mowbray's men will be desperate to put things right when they head to Barnsley on Wednesday evening.

The boss made two changes to the team that began against Queens Park Rangers last time out, with Barry Douglas and Bradley Dack returning in place of the benched Amari'i Bell and Harvey Elliott.

Despite having the majority of the play, it was the visitors who took the lead on 19 minutes through Rovers old boy Cunningham.

A switch of play from Alan Browne released the left wing back, who took a touch before unleashing a thumping strike that flew low to Kaminski's left and into the bottom corner.

North End's stubbornness ensured Rovers had to wait until the 35 minute mark to find a response, but Adam Armstrong dragged wide of Iversen's left-hand post after being played through by Dack.

But worse arrived just before half-time when the slightest touch from Lindsay doubled PNE's advantage from close range after Ryan Ledson's inswinging corner caused problems.

However, the response was instant from the hosts, with Armstrong slamming home from the spot just seconds later.

A rampaging run from Ryan Nyambe saw the Namibian fly forward, he set Sam Gallagher free in the box, and after he was tripped by Andrew Hughes, the referee eventually awarded Rovers a penalty.

Armstrong was the man from 12-yards and converted despite Iversen going the right way.

The on-loan goalkeeper produced a stunning save just a moment later when the Dane clawed away the frontman's flick towards goal after he latched onto Douglas' teasing delivery from the left.

The goal did provide Rovers with a lifeline going into the break, but the boss wouldn't have been happy with his side's display and made that clear with a double change for the beginning of the second half.

Tyrhys Dolan came on against his old side by replacing Joe Rothwell, whilst Jacob Davenport's first league start at Ewood Park came to an end by being replaced by Stewart Downing.

Rovers improved early on, but Barkhuizen dragged wide just before the hour mark as the visitors continued to showcase their danger on the counter-attack.

Rovers continued to probe as the game crept into the final 25 minutes with Dack and Armstrong both heading over in quick succession.

At the other end, Riis had a glorious opportunity to put the game to bed just seconds after entering the action in place of Barkhuizen, but Kaminski was in his way to deny Preston a third of the night.

Dack did have the ball in the net soon after when he poked home, but the flag was up to adjudge the talisman to be offside after he got on the end of Armstrong's flick on.

That was to be the final opportunity of the game as Rovers were left with derby day disappointment on home turf

Rovers: Kaminski, Nyambe (Elliott, 62), Lenihan (c), Branthwaite, Douglas, Travis (Brereton, 87), Davenport (Downing, 46), Gallagher (Harwood-Bellis, 75), Dack, Rothwell (Dolan, 46), Armstrong.

Unused substitutes: Pears, Bell, Buckley, Evans.

Goal: Armstrong pen, 45.

Preston North End: Iversen, Lindsay, Browne (c), Johnson (Potts, 75), Storey, Hughes, Whiteman, Ledson, Evans (Molumby, 90), Barkhuizen (Riis, 75), Cunningham.

Unused substitutes: Ripley, Rafferty, van Den Berg, Huntington, Gallagher, Sinclair.

Goals: Cunningham, 19, Lindsay, 43

Booked: Ledson, 61, Lindsay, 84.

Referee: David Webb.

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