Clarets move up to fourth
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
It was another Burnley loan signing in striker David Johnson who stole the show, scoring the winner in the first half after Ian Moore had given Stan Ternant's men a sixth minute lead while goalkeeper Marlon Beresford had a brilliant second half in goal.
Preston caretaker boss Kelham O'Hanlon, who was in place of now Everton manager David Moyes, saw his side defend woefully in the first half and fail to take their chances in the second period.
The Lancashire derby started intensely, with Preston applying early pressure and striker Richard Cresswell blazing a shot over the bar.
The Lilywhites had the best chance to score seconds later when a cross from the right found defender Chris Lucketti, whose stab-strike from two yards out forced Burnley goalkeeper Beresford into a reaction save and a clearance for a corner.
Then immediately after plucking the ball out of the air from the following corner, Beresford cleared a long ball up field and a back-pass to Preston goalkeeper David Lucas was not properly dealt with by the custodian, as he knocked the ball right to Burnley striker Ian Moore.
With Lucas caught out of goal, Moore lobbed the ball over the Preston keeper and into the goal to give The Clarets a 1-0 lead after just six minutes.
The home side continued to put pressure on, winning a free kick on the edge of the Preston penalty box which Tony Grant struck around the wall, only for Lucas to make a good save and push away for a corner.
The match remained wide open, with Cresswell squandering one opportunity after receiving a good ball from David Healy, but having failed to take advantage of the open space in front of him at the edge of the Burnley box, he eventually sailed the ball over Beresford's bar.
On loan striker Johnson, from Nottingham Forest, was making his Burnley debut and he nearly got on the score sheet, when his run and shot on goal was partially stopped by Lucas and with the loose ball rolling towards goal, Lucketti was forced to clear it away to safety.
However, the Turf Moor outfit would extend their lead when a heads-up Johnson took a quick free kick in midfield to Alan Moore, who played a return pass back to Johnson.
He ran on to the through-ball and drove his shot home past Lucas to make it 2-0.
The second goal seemed to inspire The Clarets, as Ian Moore and Johnson forced Lucas to make more important saves and keep Preston in with a shout.
Johnson had two particular opportunities to increase the score-line. His first came from another long ball forward and with the Preston back-line sleeping, Johnson ran on to the ball but his touch around Lucas forced him too far wide and his by-line shot found the side netting.
His second run through brought him one-on-one with Lucas again on the right top corner of Preston's penalty box but as Johnson tried to round the keeper, Lucas parried the ball from his feet and make the save.
Preston showed little in reply after going behind, with their chances failing to threaten Beresford in goal, as Burnley showed more energy and commitment going forward in the first half and Preston having to sort out their woeful defending.
Burnley had the brightest start to the second half but Preston's caretaker manager O'Hanlon must have inspired his charges, as they started to show more spirit.
They fought their way back into the match and came close to scoring when a free-kick from the left curled in and just went beyond the head of midfielder Dickson Etuhu past Beresford's left post.
Etuhu was starting to cause The Clarets' defenders problems, as Preston were having their best spell of the match.
He latched on to a short corner at the edge of the box and his first-time strike forced Beresford into an excellent save, to maintain the two-goal cushion.
Ternant's men continued to threaten Preston's goal, with Grant forcing Lucas into a good stop from his 20-yard strike and midfielder Kevin Ball shamefully sailing the ball high and wide seconds later, after playing a give-and-go at the edge of Preston's box.
To the away side's credit, Preston kept up the fight and it was Etuhu again who played a sublime cross in from the right, which found Cresswell unmarked in front of goal but Beresford again came up with an equally brilliant save.
The Deepdale club's desperation was continuing to create chances, as a Rob Edwards corner from the right curled in at the far post and Lucketti's downward header forced Beresford into a good left leg save.
Preston's Graham Alexander saw his free-kick go straight to Beresford from 20 yards out minutes later but The Lilywhites finally made their second half chances pay off, when an Etuhu cross found Iain Anderson at the far post.
He chested it and let it drop for a full volley strike that finally beat Beresford to make it 2-1 and set up a thrilling final six minutes of action.
With the match on a knife-edge, Burnley substitute Glen Little looked to have been fouled by Preston keeper Lucas outside the box, as the two contested the ball, but referee Paul Durkin waved off any infringement.
Then, Anderson earned Preston a free-kick just outside the Burnley box but Alexander's solid strike around the wall found Beresford's safe arms.
The Turf Moor side then had claims for a penalty, as Alan Moore made a brilliant run into the Preston box after beating two Preston players.
He was brought down but Durkin waved off what looked like a genuine penalty.
The nervous four minutes of injury time did not help the home side but Preston could not find another breakthrough and Ternant's men took three valuable points towards their promotion play-off aspirations while Preston looked bemused from the earlier off-field events of last week.
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Burnley 2-1 Preston