Hayles makes amends in time to stall Preston's promotion drive

Millwall 2 - Preston North End 1
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Barry Hayles and his Millwall team-mates will not be playing in the Premiership next season but the south London side also did their level best to make sure Preston's promotion bid slowed up yesterday.

Barry Hayles and his Millwall team-mates will not be playing in the Premiership next season but the south London side also did their level best to make sure Preston's promotion bid slowed up yesterday.

However, Hayles's winning goal was overshadowed by the 17th-minute head injury suffered by Andy Marshall, the Lions goalkeeper. Going for the ball at Richard Cresswell's feet saw Marshall take a blow to the head, leading to a seven-minute delay while he was treated on the pitch. He was knocked out but regained consciousness later before being examined at King's College Hospital.

Preston, though almost certain to make the play-offs despite their last two games coming against fellow top-six teams Wigan and Derby, put in as abject a performance as they can have done all season long. Their manager, Billy Davies, admitted as much, saying: "We got what we deserved. We didn't turn up and never passed it properly."

After going behind early on to Peter Sweeney's well-taken effort, they should have fallen further in arrears only to see Hayles miss an open goal. The former Birmingham City striker did not let that disturb him and he redeemed himself 13 minutes from time.

In between, David Nugent had equalised for the visitors and that should have signalled a revival by Davies's men. But that revival never emerged.

Sweeney's goal came from a Jody Morris cross from the left that was flicked on by Danny Dichio and the unmarked midfielder stroked his shot back across Carlo Nash inside the far post.

Then came Hayles's miss, which would have haunted him for a long time had it not been for his winner. He did the hard part by chasing the ball down as Nash fumbled, but he shot too close to the goalkeeper.

Nugent, from Cresswell's pass, finished with ease from 20 yards out but 19 minutes later Hayles combined with Dichio and this time managed to beat Nash.

Goals: Sweeney (8) 1-0; Nugent (58) 1-1; Hayles (77) 2-1.

Millwall (4-4-2): Marshall (Stack, 24); Phillips, Lawrence, D Ward, Muscat; Sweeney (Ifill, 45), Elliott, Morris (Wise, 68), Livermore; Hayles, Dichio. Substitutes not used: Simpson, May.

Preston North End (4-4-2): Nash; Alexander, Mawene, Lucketti, Hill (Smith, 87); Sedgwick (Mears, 66), O'Neil, McKenna, Agyemang (Etuhu, 74); Nugent, Cresswell Substitutes not used: G Ward (gk), Davis.

Referee: P Joslin (Nottinghamshire).

Booked: Millwall Lawrence, Muscat; Preston North End O'Neil, Lucketti.

Man of the match: Hayles.

Attendance: 11,417.

Comments