Loan Ranger Adam brings down Preston

Preston North End 0 Blackpool 1
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Derby-day adulation came the way of Blackpool's on-loan Rangers midfielder Charlie Adam for the second time as he delivered the goal that strongly suggests these neighbours will meet again in the Championship next season.

The 23-year-old Scottish international, a past scorer in Old Firm combat, dented the division's second-best home record and Preston North End's fading play-off hopes with a 25-yard strike just before half-time.

Capitalising on a mistake by his former schoolboy friend Ross Wallace, Adam advanced purposefully and beat Preston's goalkeeper, Andy Lonergan, with a low, left-foot shot in off the post. His seaside career has certainly improved since he was sent off on his debut.

Deepdale was bulging with its biggest League crowd for 35 seasons, and Blackpool are growing to like it. They also won last season's corresponding fixture and now have seven away League victories – two more than at Bloomfield Road.

"We have not been very good at home, so it's nice to give the fans something to rejoice about," said their caretaker manager, Tony Parkes. "It's a big three points."

The first half was more pleasing to the eye than many a derby, the Pool striker Ben Burgess bringing two diving saves and Wallace curling a terrific 25-yard free-kick against the outside of the post at one end, and Stephen Elliott's shot on the turn being superbly saved by Paul Rachubka at the other.

Preston also saw Elliott and Paul McKenna fire narrowly off-target and were harshly represented by their interval deficit. But their lack of creativity made this lunchtime assignment increasingly comfortable for Blackpool until Neil Mellor turned in Sean St Ledger's header three minutes from time, only for the effort to be ruled out for pushing.

In the meantime, Adam slammed a free-kick just past the angle from 35 yards and winger David Vaughan dragged a shot wide as a shadow was cast over a day when Preston again celebrated the life of Sir Tom Finney, this time by presenting him with a special cap.

"While we still have a chance of the play-offs, we will keep going," said their disappointed manager, Alan Irvine.