By Andy Jones – Reporter
PNE continued their unbeaten run as they eased to a 3-1 victory over Huddersfield Town in Simon Grayson’s 200th match in charge of the club.
First-half headers from captain Tom Clarke and Alex Baptiste gave North End a comfortable lead going into the break before Paul Gallagher added a third early in the second half.
Nahki Wells came off the bench to grab a goal back for Huddersfield late on but it proved to be too little too late for the away side.
The result means Preston continue their brilliant home form with a fourth consecutive victory at Deepdale as well as extending their unbeaten run to five games in the league.
PNE started on the front foot and Paul Gallagher’s fantastic free-kick six minutes in was met by Clarke who rose highest to head into the back of the net to score against his former club.
Simon Grayson’s men continued to enjoy the better of the play in the first 25 minutes and soon tested Danny Ward twice in quick succession.
First a Gallagher delivery was met by Jordan Hugill but the Liverpool loanee managed to tip the ball over the bar before the resulting corner fell to Clarke who drilled straight at the goalkeeper.
It served as a wakeup call to Huddersfield who began to play their way back into the game and make chances of their own.
First Jack Payne and then Aaron Mooy found space on the edge of the Preston area but both saw their shots deflected wide.
Huddersfield continued to struggle to deal with Gallagher’s crosses and it was no surprise that his delivery created Preston’s second goal of the night as Alex Baptiste rose highest to bullet a header into the net on 42 minutes.
The second half began how the first ended as Preston increased their lead.
This time Gallagher turned from provider to goalscorer as another of his free kicks bypassed everyone and nestled in the corner of the net after 53 minutes.
Huddersfield were not deterred and continued to look to make chances as substitute Harry Bunn forced a save from Chris Maxwell.
The Terriers kept pushing with Tommy Smith seeing his shot deflected just past the post and from the resulting corner Mooy drove agonisingly wide.
Eventually the pressure told with 10 minutes remaining as Preston failed to clear a dangerous Huddersfield attack.
Christopher Schindler headed Jack Payne’s delivery back across goal for Nahki Wells to tap home and give the away side a glimmer of hope.
The goal proved to be just a consolation as Preston regained impetus in the game and Huddersfield struggled to threaten Maxwell in the North End goal and the home side came away with all three points.