The Bluebirds fell to defeat at Deepdale, with three clinical finishes from Preston earning them the points.
City started with good attacking intent, as Anthony Pilkington forced a good save from Anders Lindegaard. Ten minutes in, good work from Kadeem Harris saw the wing back emerge into the box, before finding Rickie Lambert, whose header went narrowly wide of the target. While City looked promising, Preston showed their own attacking intentions, as Ben Wilson was called into action to deny Paul Gallagher’s free kick. The young stopper made another strong save to keep out Aiden McGeady’s effort.
As the half progressed, the hosts began to enjoy more possession in the Cardiff half, and took the lead ten minutes before the break. A cross from Callum Robinson was aimed towards the far side of the area, and with Wilson unable to claim the ball, North End skipper Tom Clarke was able to scoop the ball home.
Five minutes later, and Preston were two goals to the good. England Under-20 winger Robinson picked the ball up inside the City half, strode forward and unleashed a powerful strike into the bottom right hand corner of the net, ending the first half with the scoreline 2-0 to the home team.
Paul Gallagher rattled the crossbar with a free kick early on in the second half, as the Lilywhites began brightly. However, the Bluebirds then earned four corners in quick succession, testing former Man United keeper Lindegaard. Anthony Pilkington saw another effort saved by the Dane, as Cardiff looked to get back into the game.
Despite some better Cardiff play, which saw Pilkington looking lively in the Preston box, it was Jordan Hugill who settled the tie with a superb shot late on. The young striker’s effort flew into the top corner, rounding off a disappointing evening for Paul Trollope’s men, who next face Leeds United on Saturday at Cardiff City Stadium.
FULL TIME: PRESTON NORTH END 3-0 CARDIFF CITY (Clarke ’36, Robinson ’40, Hugill ‘88)
Preston North End: Lindegaard, Vermijl, Clarke, Baptiste, Cunningham, Robinson (Makienok ’86), Gallagher, Browne, McGeady, Hugill (Johnson ‘90), Doyle (Humphrey ’77).
Subs not used: Maxwell, Wright, Welsh, Pringle.
Cardiff City: Wilson, Peltier, Manga, Morrison, Harris, John (Noone ’45), Huws (Whittingham ’45), Gunnarsson, Ralls (Gounongbe ‘69) Pilkington, Lambert.
Subs not used: Amos, Connolly, Richards, Immers.