Preston 3-1 Huddersfield: Terriers fail to level with Newcastle after Preston defeat
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 19/10/16 10:56pm
Huddersfield missed out on the chance to go level on points with Sky Bet Championship leaders Newcastle as Paul Gallagher inspired Preston to a 3-1 win - their fourth straight victory at home.
Gallagher teed up Tom Clarke and Alex Baptiste in the first half before netting a free-kick himself after the break to extend Preston's unbeaten run to five games.
Nahki Wells grabbed a late consolation for Huddersfield, who still have not won at Deepdale since 1969.
Simon Grayson's side took an early lead with the first chance of the game after six minutes. Gallagher's whipped free-kick was met by Clarke, whose header from six yards was too strong for Danny Ward to keep out.
But Ward was on hand with a terrific stop after 23 minutes, acrobatically leaping to his right to tip Jordan Hugill's looping header over the bar, before keeping out Clarke's fierce drive from the resulting corner.
Huddersfield began to see more of the ball approaching the half-hour mark and threatened when Jack Payne broke in behind the Preston midfield, but his powerful shot was deflected wide by Clarke.
But David Wagner's side were undone by another magnificent delivery from Gallagher after 42 minutes. The midfielder produced a superb, curling, first-time cross from the right which was met by a towering header from Baptiste, who powered the ball past Ward from 12 yards.
It was the first time the Terriers had conceded more than one goal in the league this season.
Huddersfield, now attacking the end packed with their relentless away supporters, came close five minutes after the break when Payne's free-kick from the edge of the area whistled just over the bar.
Three minutes later, however, the points were wrapped up for Preston and Gallagher was again at the heart of it, this time finding the net himself. His whipped free-kick from the left evaded everyone and nestled into the far corner.
Huddersfield were determined not to lie down, though, and Payne had two opportunities in the 56th minute. He saw one shot parried away by Chris Maxwell and the ball dropped back to him, but he volleyed it against his own face.
After continuing to push forward, Huddersfield deservedly scored after 81 minutes, as Payne's free-kick was headed across goal by Christopher Schindler and Wells nodded home from four yards, but it would be a mere consolation.
Preston manager Simon Grayson:
"Maybe leaving Paul Gallagher out for a couple of games has, not given him a kick up the backside, but it's given a reminder that nobody is safe in the team if others are doing well. Gally, on his day, is as good as anyone in this division with his delivery.
"We knew what a good team they were and we knew that we had to be very good off the ball to stop them playing. Sometimes you win a match with the ball and how you play, but that was as much about what we did off it as well.
"We made them kick it long and not get into a routine. We got the goals at the right time and it was a really strong performance from first whistle to last. It's nice to go into the difficult games in good spirits and with confidence. We are not going to get carried away.
"In this division you can come down to earth very quickly if you're not careful. Hopefully we can carry on this unbeaten run that we're on at the moment."
Huddersfield manager David Wagner:
"To be fair, the explanation for our performance is very easy, we weren't on the aggression that we normally and usually are. So we were not on the right level when it came to fighting attitude, working attitude, especially in our first line.
"We spoke a lot about aggression before the game. If you want to be successful here against Preston you have to be aggressive, especially in the first line to defend the ball and keep the ball. This is what we completely missed.
"In the end, three set pieces decided the game. But credit to Preston, Gallagher is a great deliverer and unfortunately we were not able to defend these balls.
"It was a weakness in that game yes, but my bigger concern is that we didn't have our fighting attitude. In the second half it was better, but the first half was not good enough."