Preston North End eventually saw off a struggling Cardiff City side, with two second half goals at Deepdale.
There was very little attacking quality from either side in the first half but Tom Cannon and Ched Evans secured the three points for The Lilywhites.
Heroic performance from Freddie Woodman
Very early on in the game on Saturday Freddie Woodman was called into action. Cardiff striker Kion Etete looked to be through on goal, but Woodman rushed out his area to clear away the danger.
Woodman then stayed down for quite a few minutes and received treatment from the medical team. He played on but it was clear to see he had a nasty cut just below his eye.
Blood ran down his face for the majority of the game but he still made some huge saves. He was alert to stop a free-kick from Perry Ng and also a fierce strike from Sory Kaba.
The former Newcastle goalkeeper may still have been dazed from the early collision but his concentration was spot on throughout. He was named man of the match and was clearly delighted as he walked off at the end.
He celebrated in front of the Town End and hit the badge on his second shirt of the day, with his first having to be changed due to the blood from his injury.
A comfortable win… in the end
Despite Cardiff finding themselves in decent positions during the game, they failed to make them count. Preston’s two goal victory in the end was the first time they had managed to win by more than one goal at Deepdale this season. They’ve only managed that feat once away from home as well when they thumped Blackburn Rovers 4-1.
It has often been the case that we tend to sit back after scoring a goal. The floodgates never open after one. So at least it wasn’t a nail biting finish for once with Evans’ goal in injury time putting the game to bed.
Cannon in all action performance
The first half was tough for the two starting strikers. Tom Cannon and Troy Parrott are always going to be willing runners. But they didn’t have anything to feed off in the first 45.
Cannon’s first key chance came after some great work down the left from Alvaro Fernandez. The Spaniard expertly found Cannon at the back post who dummied last one defender but his shot was weak and straight at Jack Alnwick, The Bluebirds ‘keeper.
Parrott eventually made way for Ched Evans and the game seemed to open up a bit more then. Cannon then got his second chance in the 68th minute. Greg Cunningham played a superb ball around the defence and Cannon held off his defender. He then steadied himself and took an extra touch before rifling the ball into the net.
A great finish but Cunningham really deserves credit for the assist. Cannon wasn’t finished there though.
Another red for a Cardiff goalkeeper
Jak Alnwick was making his league debut for the Welsh side as first-choice Ryan Allsop had received a red card in their last match.
Alnwick didn’t have too many saves to make but in the last minute a long-ball backwards from a Cardiff defender bounced in between him and Tom Cannon.
The 20-year-old striker got there first and was taken out by his opponent. The referee showed Alnwick the red and Preston were able to test the third choice custodian.
Ben Whiteman’s free-kick was parried by Rohan Luthra before Evans was on hand to prod home the rebound.
Bambo a man in form
Diaby was key to another clean sheet for Preston on Saturday. The back line picked up their third clean sheet in a row and their fourth in five games.
The Senegalese defender has played in all five of those games and it’s been his longest run in the Preston side.
In the past he has lacked confidence and that is now clearly growing game by game. The rest of the defence are playing well with him and he gives much needed pace to the back three.
Liam Lindsay was one of our best players in the first half of the season and after missing the last two games through suspension he’ll find it tough to get back in the side.
Diaby should be able to keep his place until the end of the season and it will do wonders for him.