CITY SWITCH ON STYLE TO DEFEAT PRESTON
A goal of the season contender from Kenneth Zohore sealed Cardiff City's 2-0 victory over Preston North End at Cardiff City Stadium.
Peter Whittingham's early penalty had given the Bluebirds the advantage, before Zohore's incredible solo effort stunned the Lilywhites and secured the points.
AN EXPLOSIVE START
The first chance of the game fell to Junior Hoilett who cleverly turned away from his marker after Jazz Richards had found him in the box. The Canadian International fired a low effort that was well saved by Chris Maxwell in the Lilywhites goal.
Hoilett had started the game strongly and just after the fifteen-minute mark, he jinked past several yellow shirts on his way into the box and was brought down by Preston’s Daniel Johnson. Referee, Graham Scott, had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, which gave Peter Whittingham the chance to give his side the lead. Cardiff’s number seven made no mistake, blasting his effort into the bottom right corner to make it 1-0 to the Bluebirds.
The home side refused to sit back after taking the lead and went in search of further goals. With the game approaching the half-hour mark, Kenneth Zohore received the ball from Whittingham in his own half and turned smartly before sprinting past three Preston markers with a fantastic burst of pace. The big Dane was clean through on goal and delicately chipped the ball over the onrushing Maxwell to double his side’s advantage in spectacular style - a goal of the season contender from the birthday boy!
CITY IN CONTROL
Ben Pearson brought a fine save out of Allan McGregor in the City goal after the midfielder had cut inside well.
Just before the half time whistle, City were back on the offensive though, and went agonisingly close to getting a third. Whittingham curled in a trademark corner which was headed on by captain Sean Morrison. The ball dropped to Hoilett a matter of yards from goal, but the attacker could not keep his effort down and it cannoned off the cross bar.
The Lilywhites started the second period strongly and went close in the opening minutes when Jordan Hugill laid the ball off to Aiden McGeady who flashed an effort just wide of the post. Moments later, Paul Gallagher sent in a dangerous free kick which captain Tom Clarke blasted over from close range.
Just after the hour mark, Sol Bamba won a great tackle near the half way line which set Whittingham free. The midfielder drove towards goal and unleashed a venomous left-footed drive that was bravely blocked by the Preston defence.
City were enjoying a strong spell now and moments later substitute Matt Connolly raced forward before playing Zohore through on goal with a clever pass. This time, however, Maxwell was equal to it and denied the striker his second goal of the game.
THREE POINTS FOR THE BLUEBIRDS
As the game was entering its closing stages, City were defending well and containing the Preston threat. Bamba and Morrison, in particular, were both having excellent games, winning countless tackles and looking imperious in the air.
Aron Gunnarsson was another who was giving everything and a typically lung-bursting run drew a foul just outside the Lilywhites penalty area. Unfortunately for Cardiff they could not add to their tally as Hoilett fired the free kick over the bar.
The referee’s final whistle signaled the end of an excellent performance from City, with Zohore’s brilliant goal the icing on the cake, seeing City make it three consecutive home victories.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 2-0 PRESTON NORTH END
Cardiff City: McGregor, Richards, Bamba (Healey 90), Morrison, Peltier (Connolly 46) Ralls, Gunnarsson, Whittingham (Halford 78), Harris, Hoilett, Zohore.
Subs not used: Murphy, John, Noone, Kennedy.
Preston North End: Maxwell, Cunningham, Clarke, Huntington, Browning, Pearson (Browne 78) Johnson (Beckford 46), Gallagher, McGeady, Horgan (Robinson 66), Hugill.
Subs not used: Lindegaard, Boyle, Pringle, Makienok.