Match Report: PNE 3-2 Blackburn Rovers

By Andy Jones - Reporter

A late Callum Robinson winner saw Preston North End claim all three points in an entertaining 3-2 victory against Blackburn Rovers.

Robinson collected a Greg Cunningham pass before swivelling and firing home the winner to give Preston the bragging rights in the Lancashire Derby.

Daniel Johnson gave Preston the lead twice in the game as he curled home the opener from 20 yards out before slotting home a penalty in the first half.

Danny Graham equalised twice for Blackburn; smashing the ball home after initially seeing his penalty saved by Chris Maxwell he smashed in the rebound before beating him again with 20 minutes remaining.

It was a lively opening to the game as both teams looked to get forward. Blackburn goalkeeper Jason Steele had to be alert to punch away a Robinson cross with Jordan Hugill poised to head home early-on.

Ben Pearson then saw his drive blocked by a Blackburn shirt after being set up by Robinson but Preston were beginning to build pressure on the away side’s goal.

Eventually the pressure told as Robinson again caused problems on the left side. His cross was controlled by Hugill who played it into the path of Johnson and the central midfielder curled a wonderful effort beyond Steele to give Preston the lead after 18 minutes.

Johnson and Preston came crashing back down to earth minutes later as the Preston no.11 turned from hero to villain as he brought down Sam Gallagher in the area and the referee pointed to the spot for a Blackburn penalty.

Graham stepped up but Chris Maxwell dived low to his right to keep the ball out. Graham looked to convert the follow up but after seeing his first two efforts blocked he eventually fired the ball home to level the scores.

Preston looked to regain their lead quickly as Simon Makienok headed a Robinson delivery just over the bar before Steele needed a second attempt to collect a Cunningham volley soon after.

On 30 minutes, Johnson became the hero again after the referee awarded a controversial penalty to Preston as he adjudged Makienok to have been pulled back in the area as his header was tipped onto the post by Steele.

Johnson stepped up and coolly converts the penalty as he slid the ball into the bottom left hand corner sending goalkeeper Steele the wrong way.

Preston continued to ride the wave of momentum and Robinson won possession in the middle of the pitch but after running at the Blackburn defence his powerful effort sailed just over the bar.

The away side should have levelled in stoppage time at the end of the first half as, after Maxwell had tipped a Danny Graham’s header wide, Darragh Lenihan found himself unmarked from the resulting corner but directed his header inches wide of the post.

Preston started the second half positively and after good work by Makienok and Marnick Vermijl, the latter’s drilled cross was scooped well wide by Hugill after 50 minutes.

Blackburn, felt they should have been awarded a second penalty of the night when Corey Evans went to ground under a challenge by Ben Pearson as he went through on goal but the referee waved the claims away.

Just before the hour mark, Makienok once again made his presence felt in the Blackburn penalty area as he headed down a long free-kick into the path of Hugill but he could only fire his volley wide.

The away side began to force Preston backwards and it took a brilliant block from Bailey Wright to deny Danny Graham as he was sent through on goal.

Five minutes later and Blackburn did equalise with a similar move as Williams slipped in Danny Graham and this time the striker made no mistake as he fired low past Maxwell with the help of a deflection from Tom Clarke.

The home side looked to answer back quickly as Johnson found Hugill in the area but his shot was blocked and the same man then saw his header drift harmlessly wide of the post.

The Lilywhites kept threatening and they finally got the breakthrough as Callum Robinson turned excellently after receiving a pass from Cunningham before beating the keeper with a well-struck drive with 10 minutes remaining.

Blackburn were determined to take something away from the game and Ben Marshall went agonisingly close as he fired a free-kick just over from a very threatening position.

Blackburn were left frustrated though and Preston walked away from Deepdale with a hard-fought three points.

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