Barnsley make most of Preston hangover

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The Independent Football

Preston North End 1 Barnsley 2

Preston North End 1 Barnsley 2

Preston put in a bold surge in the closing stages at Deepdale last night, but it came too late to overturn a two-goal deficit even though Jonathan Macken did net with four minutes left. It was a welcome change of luck for the visitors, who recorded their first victory in six outings.

Perhaps it was a hangover from their midweek exertions in defeating the previously invincible Fulham, but Preston struggled to find their rhythm. Indeed, Barnsley looked the more comfortable and, had Matty Appleby been more composed, he would have lobbed his side into an early lead rather than clearing the crossbar.

Paul McKenna, Preston's tricky left-winger, had other ideas, though. A surging run tore a hole through the Barnsley midfield, his efforts eventually freeing Macken, but the striker shot squarely at Kevin Miller's legs.

An error at the other end allowed Barnsley to take the lead. A clearance foxed the Preston captain, Sean Gregan, his pause giving Bruce Dyer the time to chip bravely over the advancing David Lucas.

The home side, who were seeking to extend their unbeaten home record, signalled their intent by emerging early from the dressing-room after the break. Iain Anderson, who came on after the interval, spearheaded the assault, giving opportunities to both Erik Meijer and Macken, who were denied by the inspirational Miller.

Those stops, the latter a remarkable reaction save, straddled Barnsley's first thrust of the half, a speedy move finished with aplomb by their half-time substitute Mike Sheron.

While Preston offered the more fluent passing game, Barnsley's back line, taking their lead from Miller's excellence, held firm under increasingly intense scrutiny.

The Preston manager, David Moyes, augmented his strike duo with Bjarki Gunnlaugsson, who should have levelled in injury time. Macken, with an exquisite solo run and shot, had pegged back the lead but the fatal damage had been inflicted.

Preston North End (4-4-2): Lucas; Alexander, Gregan, Murdock (Jackson, 26), Edwards; Cartwright (Anderson, h-t; Gunnlaugsson, 68), Rankine, Appleton, McKenna; Meijer, Macken. Substitutes not used: Moilanen (gk), Robinson, Jackson.

Barnsley (4-4-2) Miller; Regan, Morgan, Chettle, Barker; Ward, Van der Laan, Appleby, Barnard (Corbo, 56); Shipperley (Sheron, h-t), Dyer (O'Callaghan, 63). Substitutes not used: McClare, Neil.

Referee: S Baines (Chesterfield).

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