Match Report | Preston North End 1-3 Cardiff City
It was a delightful away performance from Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon, defeating fellow play-off chasers Preston North End, 3-1, at Deepdale.
Joe Ralls opened the scoring on 69 minutes. Daniel Johnson pegged back the Bluebirds four minutes later but late goals from subs Nathaniel Mendez-Laing & Robert Glatzel secured an impressive victory for Neil Harris' side.
Tom Barkhuizen’s half volley after two minutes failed to test Alex Smithies. City’s first chance came ten minutes later when Albert Adomah shot wide from the edge of the box.
The two sets of defence controlled the first half with very few chances created. Sean Morrison was a rock at the heart of defence as well as a danger in the opposition box for the Bluebirds. A Morrison header late in the half went wide from Will Vaulks’ corner, with the first 45 ending goalless.
Scott Sinclair’s low powerful drive after 56 minutes forced Smithies into a fine stop. This was a sign of things to come as the game opened up, with both teams looking to get forward.
The opening goal finally came with 21 minutes remaining, as Neil Harris’ away side took the lead. Junior Hoilett’s free kick from 25-yards struck the wall. The Bluebirds recycled play out to the right side, with full-back Dion Sanderson setting himself before putting a deep cross into the box that was met by Joe Ralls. The City No.8 crashing a header past Declan Rudd.
Alex Neil’s side pegged City back within four minutes though. Seconds after Hoilett missed a good opportunity at the other end, Preston broke on goal, with top goalscorer Daniel Johnson beating Smithies at the second attempt, after Alan Browne’s shot was blocked.
Replacements from the subs bench played a crucial part in City’s victory over Leeds United last weekend - and that was again the case at Deepdale.
On 82 minutes, playmaker Lee Tomlin received the ball in midfield before setting free fellow sub Nathaniel Mendez-Laing. The former Rochdale winger had Robert Glatzel for support, but didn’t require him on this occasion, clinically placing beyond Rudd to give City their lead back.
With two minutes of the game remaining, torrential rain began at Deepdale, impacting play. The hosts managed to get through the inclement weather to create a huge opportunity just before the end of the 90 minutes. Experienced forward David Nugent took aim from 15 yards, but curled his effort wide of goal.
German forward Glatzel made his mark from the bench for the second week running to seal the win for Cardiff City one minute into the seven added on. The No.9 picked up the ball on the left wing, bested Patrick Bauer, who slipped under pressure on the slippy pitch, before cutting in and shooting at goal. The ball hitting the back of the net via a deflection.
Preston tried to find a way through City for a second time, but the Bluebirds held strong in the tough conditions to record an impressive away victory that takes them into the top six.
FINAL SCORE: PRESTON NORTH END 1-3 CARDIFF CITY
Preston North End: Rudd, Fisher (Gallagher 77’), Pearson, Davies, Browne, Johnson (Harrop 85’), Hughes, Stockley (Nugent 85’), Bauer, Barkhuizen (Maguire 71’), Sinclair (Potts 85’). Subs Not Used: Ripley, Huntington, Ledson, Bodin.
Cardiff City: Smithies, Sanderson, Bennett, Morrison, Nelson, Vaulks, Ralls (Tomlin 77’), Bacuna, Adomah (Mendez-Laing 65’), Hoilett (Pack 90’), Paterson (Glatzel 65’). Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Flint, Smith, Whyte, Ward.