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17:00 14th April 2012


A second half goal at Deepdale from Preston North End defender Chris Robertson was enough to condemn the Terriers to their third straight defeat this afternoon.

The Terriers enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half and should have scored through Jordan Rhodes on two occasions, although for their part the hosts did hit the post through Chris Holroyd.

However, Preston improved in the second half and scored the only goal of the game when the centre back converted a short corner routine in acres of space at the back post.

Simon Grayson deployed his side in a 4-3-3 formation on the day, with Gary Roberts replacing Danny Cadamarteri in the starting line-up and flanking Jordan Rhodes along with Danny Ward. Scott Arfield, Diego Arismendi and Anton Robinson formed the central midfield trio.

In their change strip of red and black, the Terriers started brightly with a ball forward from Jack Hunt catching the Preston defence square and setting Rhodes away, only for home 'keeper Thorsten Stuckmann to spring from his line and make a vital interception.

A positive drive forward from midfield from Anton Robinson earned Town the first corner of the game in the 4th minute, but Ward's delivery was just too long for the rising Diego Arismendi to latch onto at the back post.

Robinson's runs past the striker were a feature of the early stages and the former Bournemouth man earned his side another corner minutes later after bursting up the field and pressuring Preston centre back Chris Robertson.

A foul from left back Paul Parry on Rhodes in the right corner gave Ward the chance to test the home defence again in the 9th minute and although Hunt's eventual cross dropped inside the box, the 'keeper was able to claim it among a group of bodies.

The Terriers made all the running in the opening 10 minutes, with some patient passing football and a real eagerness to get the ball into the Preston penalty area at every opportunity. Scott Arfield's pass into the area for midfield colleague Robinson was superb and he picked out top scorer Rhodes, but the ball bobbled in front of him and his effort went high into the Preston stand behind the goal.

Preston finally got the chance to attack Town in the 17th minute when Danny Mayor played a wide free kick into the box, but Ian Bennett - back in the side due to a training injury sustained by Alex Smithies in midweek - calmly claimed the cross.

Gary Roberts Preston 320

Town continued to boss possession and after a quiet period had the next shot at goal just after the half hour mark. Robinson and Roberts combined down the left, with the latter crossing deep; Ward headed back to the edge of the area, but an off-balance Diego Arismendi fired well over.

The next chance was much better; Arfield found the feet of Robinson inside the area and with his back to goal he flicked the ball into the path of the on-rushing Rhodes, but after steadying himself the Scotland international fired a left foot volley straight at the goalkeeper.

That left-off brought the hosts to life and they had their first chance of the game moments later. A quickly taken throw down their left side fell to Danny Mayor in the edge of the area, but his attempted curler into the far post was tipped wide by Ian Bennett - a great save that was acknowledged by the travelling Terriers behind the goal.

BOOKING - Anton Robinson was shown the first yellow card of the game in the 36th minute for a body-check on Danny Mayor down the Town right on the halfway line.

Their earlier effort seemed to lift PNE and they hit the post two minutes later when striker Chris Holroyd found space on the edge of the box and rather scuffed his effort off the face of the back post with Bennett scrambling across his line.

Town fought back, with Ward picking out the overlapping Hunt on the right; his cross towards the penalty spot was first class and Jordan will think he should have done better with his header, which clipped the top of the netting as it travelled over the bar.

SUB - Preston were forced into a change in the 42nd minute when lively striker Iain Hume picked up a knock - he was replaced by Graham Cummins.

Upon the restart Danny Ward beat ailing left back Paul Parry easily and whipped a great cross into the area, but once again 'keeper Stuckmann was on hand to punch the ball to safety.

SUB - Parry had to be replaced because of the injury issue - Craig Morgan took his place, with Bailey Wright moving across to left back.

Jordan Rhodes had another great chance to open the scoring in first half added time when some neat interplay in and around the edge of the area saw the ball fall into his path on the edge of the six yard box, but by the time he had controlled the ball he was too close to the goalie - who smothered his shot well.

BOOKING - Home defender Morgan wasted no time in making an impact after coming on, chopping down Danny Ward in the centre of the pitch and earning himself a yellow card.


Anton Robinson Preston 320

There were no changes in personnel duting the interval, but Preston boss Graham Westley had switched his side to 4-3-3 to match up the Town shape in the second half.

Danny Ward smashed the ball into the Town fans behind the goal minutes after the restart in a highly ambitious attempt from around 35 yards out.

Wardy's next contribution in the 51st minute was much more effective - his slide-rule through ball found yet another forward run from Anton Robinson. The midfielder shaped to place the ball home with his right foot as he entered the penalty area, but an excellent covering tackle from right back David Gray denied him the chance.

Town were in the ascendancy once again and Sean Morrison's penalty appeals were turned down by referee Andy D'Urso minutes later before Ward turned inside Gray and shot wide with his right foot.

GOAL - Despite Town's great start to the half, Preston took the lead when Town switched off to a short corner. Two Preston men doubled up to get past Town's solitary defender and when the ball was eventually slid low across the box, big centre back Chris Robertson was on hand to place the ball home - depsite a last ditch effort from Peter Clarke on the line.

SUB - Town manager Grayson made his first change in the 56th minute, with Lee Novak replacing Danny Ward on the left.

Preston tried to double their lead just before the hour mark when left winger Mayor cut inside and let fly, but his low drive was easy pickings for Bennett.

BOOKING - Home midfielder Paul Coutts was shown a yellow card in the 61st minute for a cynical challenge on Jack Hunt after the right back had skipped past him.

Full back Gray's speculative long range effort flew high and wide soon after as the Lilywhites enjoyed their best spell of the game.

Town fought back, with skipper Clarke spraying the ball right to Novak, who in turn found the run of Hunt. Eventually Novak got the ball back and crossed deep, but a covering defender got to the ball ahead of Gary Roberts.

Danny Ward Preston 320

SUB - Town's second changecame in the67th minute, with Arismendi replaced by the fit-again Tommy Miller.

Prestons' Cummins and Gary Roberts both picked out the goalkeeper with tame efforts before Sean Morrison was needed to produce a superb block to prevent a clear shot on goal for Max Ehmer on the edge of the box.

Simon Grayson switched to 4-4-2 for the final 20 minutes, with Novak joining Rhodes in attack, but it was a Morrison long throw in the 73rd minute that caused problems. Stuckmann could only punch into the path of Arfield on the edge of the box, who blazed over under heavy pressure.

Town went closer a couple of minutes later when Roberts found space inside the area and tried to stand the ball up to the back post; his cross hit a defender, before falling inches wide. The resulting corner fell to Arfield 25 yards out again and it took a defensive block to clear his effort over the crossbar.

BOOKING - Jack Hunt was shown his 11th yellow card of the season with 12 minutes left after he attempted to bring down the impressive Mayor.

BOOKING - Calum Woods followed his straight into the book for a late challenge on Holroyd on the opposite flank.

SUB - Town made their final change at the same time, with Danny Cadamarteri replacing Anton Robinson down the right flank.

BOOKING - Home defender Chris Robertson picked up the sixth yellow card of the game in the 83rd minute for what was practically a rugby tackle on Jordan Rhodes!

Robbo's resulting free kick caused some very panicky moments right underneath the home crossbar, but the assistant referee eased the pressure by flagging for offside.

SUB - Preston's final substitution came in the 85th minute, with Captain Andy Procter replaced by Nicky Hunt.

Grayson threw Peter Clarke forward in the later stages to try and nick a goal, but it was to no avail. The skipper even got his head to one late long throw from Morrison, but his effort drifted over the crossbar.


Town's team (4-3-3):

Ian Bennett; Calum Woods, Peter Clarke (c), Sean Morrison, Jack Hunt; Anton Robinson (Danny Cadamarteri 79), Diego Arismendi (Tommy Miller 67), Scott Arfield; Danny Ward (Lee Novak 56), Jordan Rhodes, Gary Roberts

Unused subs:

Nick Colgan, Tom Clarke

Town bookings: Anton Robinson (36); Jack Hunt (78); Calum Woods (79)

Preston bookings: Craig Morgan (45); Paul Coutts (61); Chris Robertson (83)

    Data provided by Press Association


    Town was the first club to win three successive league titles in 1926. Only Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have matched this feat.