Newcastle v Preston Part II
The big question of course was could Newcastle pick up a second win in 5 days against an in form Preston side who’s most recent league games had been victories against both Huddersfield and Norwich.
Both sides would make changes from the midweek whitewash of the Lilywhites, although there would be a start for Mitrovic again with Dwight Gayle injured.
STARTING XI: Darlow, Yedlin (hanley, 95), Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu, 92), Shelvey, Hayden, Gouffran, Diame, Mitrovic (Perez, 86)
And the start for Mitrovic did result in a more direct style of play from Newcastle in the early stages at Deepdale in front of 5,600 travelling fans. Indeed it would be Mitro that would cause the most trouble at either end during the first half an hour with two decent claims for a penalty, although would see both waved away by referee Chris Kavanagh.
To be fair, Preston were probably the better of the two sides in the first half, as although the visitors saw lots of the ball they offered very little going forward and were not helped by what was being perceived, at least, by the Newcastle fans as a ‘homer’ of a ref. The home side could have been ahead a half time following a few decent chances most notably for Paul Gallagher who fired wide from outside the box before stinging the palms of Darlow late in the half.
It could only get better for NUFC in the second half…..couldn’t it?!
Again it was the hosts who were creating most of the chances after the break but as the pushed forward in hunt for the breakthrough Newcastle would break up the pitch and make the breakthrough. A cross from Ritchie would almost be intercepted before dropping to man of the moment MITROVIC who’s cool finish would finally break the deadlock with an hour gone.
And on 71 minutes it was 2-0 and, of course, it was that man again. A wonderful cross by Yedlin from the right would be met by our Serb and whilst Maxwell in the Preston goal did manage to keep out this initial attempt his save would fall to the big man again for him to poke home from barely a yard out.
With the clock just hitting 90 minutes though a nervy injury time would then be secured by the home side as Beckford, fit again after a long lay off, would slam home to make it 2-1, and with 6 minutes held up on the 4th officials board Newcastle would need to hold on.
And hold on they would, despite 99 minutes played and a post hit by Preston in the last of those to make it 7 wins in a row for Rafa and his men, and with Norwich and Huddersfield both losing by a large margin it would leave Brighton in second and Newcastle 6 points above third place.