Preston 1-3 Norwich: Canaries win at Deepdale
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 17/04/17 6:36pm
Norwich picked up only their second Championship away win in their last 17 attempts with a 3-1 victory over Preston at Deepdale.
Two first-half goals from Graham Dorrans and Josh Murphy, and a third late on from James Maddison, were enough to clinch victory. It was just a third Championship home defeat for Preston in their last 19 games.
Neither side had much to play for after recent defeats in the league, and so the first half had a pre-season friendly feel about it. Then, out of nowhere, Norwich took the lead after 28 minutes. A good build-up worked the ball to the edge of the area where Steven Naismith laid it off for Dorrans, whose thumping 25-yard strike took a slight deflection on its way to finding the bottom corner.
And going behind seemed to do little to stir Preston from their drowsiness, as the lead was doubled after 40 minutes. A low ball into the area was flicked back by Cameron Jerome to Murphy in acres of space 12 yards out - and he found the bottom corner.
If one man could ignite Preston, however, it would be Aiden McGeady. On the stroke of half-time he nearly managed it, whistling a ferocious shot narrowly wide of the far post.
Norwich though continued to threaten and should have been out of sight on 52 minutes. Jerome nodded down for Russell Martin at a corner, but the Canaries captain hooked over from eight yards.
The hosts were desperately seeking a lifeline goal to drag them back into the contest, and Tom Barkhuizen had the chance to provide one on the hour mark, but blasted over from 18 yards after getting in behind the defence.
But they were back in the game after 67 minutes through defender Tommy Spurr, who rose highest to flick Paul Gallagher's free-kick into the far corner. And Preston almost levelled twice two minutes later, as John Ruddy smuggled a Barkhuizen effort behind, before Paul Huntington nodded just wide from the resulting corner.
Norwich however wrapped up the win with a third in added time, as Maddison slotted past Chris Maxwell. The win continues an impressive record for Norwich - having now won 11 of their last 12 matches played on a Monday.
Preston boss Simon Grayson:
"We left ourselves too much to do after the first half. We started well for the first few minutes but after that we were a shadow of ourselves. We didn't have any energy about us; we didn't stop the opposition from playing and they have some very talented players.
"Half-time is the angriest I've been for a long time. I said to the players we want to finish the season strongly, and it's a real disappointment because I don't want to finish the season with that kind of performance. Three games to go and we need to do something about it."
Norwich caretaker boss Alan Irvine:
"I thought it was a really good performance. But we could even have had more goals in the first half which would have killed the game off. We knew that there would be a reaction after half-time from Preston and we put ourselves on the back foot by giving away too many free-kicks.
"Overall it was a really good performance. Thankfully we got the third goal just before the end. I like playing gifted, talented, attacking players. We try to get as many out there as we can without having an unbalanced team. I thought to a man the players did really well today."