By Jack Wynne – Sports Editor
There was to be no record seventh consecutive clean sheet for Preston North End as Blackburn Rovers came away from Deepdale with a 2-1 victory.
29 minutes played and Jordan Pickford conceded a goal for the first time in six matches, Shane Duffy’s shot being cleared initially off the line by Paul Gallagher before ricocheting back in off the North End keeper.
Jordan Rhodes put further distance between the sides, with a penalty kick after Paul Huntington’s foul on Chris Taylor.
Joe Garner scored his first goal in over 1,100 minutes of Championship football, powering a shot straight into the bottom corner.
Preston North End manager Simon Grayson made just one change from the side that started against Queens Park Rangers, Greg Cunningham taking the place of Marnick Vermijl.
There were a few changes on the bench as John Welsh and Tom Clarke were named amongst the substitutes.
New Blackburn manager Paul Lambert made just the one alteration to his team as Adam Henley replaced Chris Taylor.
Daniel Johnson teed up Gallagher early on, the Preston captain firing a low shot which Jason Steele was forced to parry at first before gathering the ball ahead of the onrushing Eoin Doyle.
14 minutes gone and Alan Browne looked to lob Jason Steele from outside the box but his effort flew straight into the hands of the Rovers keeper.
Gallagher tried to pick out Doyle at the near post with a cross but Steele was quickest to react.
Just after the 20 minute mark, Grant Hanley couldn’t quite direct his header on target as it flew past Pickford’s right-hand post.
Nine minutes later, Rovers took the lead through the most unlikely of goal scorers, Pickford unfortunately being credited with the own goal after Duffy’s blocked shot bounced off the PNE keeper and back over the line.
Corry Evans was the first person to be shown a yellow card after his challenge on Browne.
Johnson had a free-kick on the edge of the box just before half-time, but the former Aston Villa man’s effort sailed narrowly wide of the post.
Ben Marshall looked to immediately test Pickford in the second half, pulling away from half-time substitute Clarke before hitting a shot straight over the bar.
Seven minutes into the second half, Rhodes doubled Rover’s advantage, scoring from the penalty spot after Huntington’s foul on Taylor.
Adam Reach provided a dangerous cross from the right but Garner got his feet tangled and the ball headed harmlessly out of play.
Just after the hour mark and Grayson made a double change, Will Keane and Stevie May coming on for Johnson and Doyle.
65 minutes gone, Garner scored his first goal of the season, hitting a driven shot across the ground which nestled straight into the bottom left-hand corner.
Blackburn made their first change in the 73rd minute as Danny Guthrie came on for Craig Conway.
Ten minutes before full-time and Rhodes was brought off, Bengali-Fode Koita taking his place.
Bailey Wright went into the referee’s book as he brought down Bengali-Fode Koita, just as the Blackburn substitute was on the break.
Six minutes later and Wright was given his marching orders, bringing down Koita again.
After the match Grayson expressed his disappointment over the result and said the performance probably warranted more.
“I think we deserved something – when you look back over the course of the game probably the least we deserved was a point.
“I think we had Blackburn camped in their own half for much of the game and we just needed a little bit of extra quality that we just didn’t have.”
PNE: Pickford, Cunningham, Wright, Johnson (Keane 63), Gallagher, Doyle (May 63), Garner, Woods (Clarke 45), Browne, Huntington, Reach. Subs not used: Kirkland, Vermijl, Welsh, Hugill
Rovers: Steele, Henley, Hanley, Marshall, Rhodes (Koita 80), Olsson, Lawrence (Taylor 33), Akpan, Duffy, Evans, Conway (Guthrie 73). Subs not used: Raya. Spurr, Kilgallon, Delfouneso
Referee: Mike Dean (Cheshire)
Attendance: 19,852 (5,486 Blackburn Rovers)