Bristol City 1-2 Preston: Alex Neil's side end poor run
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 21/11/17 11:18pm
A goal in each half from Paul Gallagher and Callum Robinson gave Preston a surprise 2-1 win at Sky Bet Championship high-flyers Bristol City.
The visitors took the lead just before the break when Jordan Hugill's shot from inside the box was blocked by a defender. The rebound fell nicely for Gallagher, who beat Frank Fielding with a shot on the turn from 10 yards.
Substitute Robinson slid in to double the advantage from Tom Barkhuisen's left-wing cross in the 78th minute and there was no denying Preston's right to the points on the balance of play. It was not until stoppage time that City substitute Cauley Woodrow shot a late consolation with a low shot from 12 yards in a crowded box.
Preston were the better side in the first half, matching City in every department and creating most of what few openings there were. Hugill twice tested Fielding in the opening 20 minutes, while the home side's only chance of note came in the 17th minute when an Aden Flint shot was blocked by Ben Davies.
Daniel Johnson shot narrowly wide for the visitors in the 41st minute and there was some jeering among City fans when the half-time whistle went with their side looking totally frustrated.
North End had got their tactics spot-on and worked hard all over the pitch to negate their opponents' passing football, which lacked its normal accuracy.
Lee Johnson reacted to his side's performance by sending on Marlon Pack and Niclas Eliasson for Jamie Paterson and Milan Djuric at the start of the second half. It left Bobby Reid as a lone front-runner and Preston continued to have the better of the play as the hour mark was reached.
Home fans raised the volume when Nathan Baker had a header cleared off the line from a right wing corner. City then lost left-back Joe Bryan to injury and Johnson took the chance to throw on an extra striker in Woodrow.
Neil had made two changes, sending on Alan Browne and Robinson for Stephy Mavididi and Gallagher as City at last began to exert concerted pressure.
A string of high crosses into the box were well dealt with by goalkeeper Chris Maxwell. The game was interrupted by a number of injuries to Preston players, which drew a scathing response from the stands.
Robinson's goal came just after Hugill had gone close with a header and calmed any Preston nerves. They remained dangerous on the break, while defending with great tenacity.
Lee Johnson: "I didn't recognise my team in the first half. We played so many long balls forward to big Milan Djuric that I had to take him off at half time. It was no reflection on his performance. I just had to remove what too many of my players were taking as an easy option.
"I wanted to see us play an extra pass and it worked to some degree in the second half when we had more of the play and created some chances. But the damage had been done. The players are in credit this season and are entitled to an off-day, but tonight it was the case with too many of them."
Alex Neil: "Bristol City are a similar team to ourselves and I knew if we were to beat them we would need to be disciplined and work hard all over the pitch. That's what happened and I felt we earned our victory. We have important players coming back from injury and this was a vital result.
"Confidence is a huge thing. Players are only human and when you have a lot of injuries they can feel they are facing an uphill struggle. Our goals came at a good time, and were well taken. It was a good team performance against a side we respect."