Preston 1-0 Birmingham: Sean Maguire scores dramatic late winner
Alex Neil's men sit seventh in the table, kept out by Aston Villa on goal difference
Last Updated: 16/03/19 7:14pm
Sean Maguire scored a dramatic injury-time winner as Preston boosted their play-off hopes with a 1-0 win over Birmingham.
Maguire headed home from Daniel Johnson's corner four minutes into stoppage-time to give the Lillywhites an undeserved yet vital three points.
Alex Neil's men had failed to show their promotion credentials up to that point during a dull game that saw few clear-cut chances for either side.
But the late winner breathed new life into Preston's play-off ambitions and leaves them level on points with Aston Villa, who occupy the last spot.
The home started with intent and Lee Camp had to be alert to collect a Brad Potts knockdown and prevent Maguire getting in on goal inside the first minute.
Connor Mahoney cut inside and bent an effort just wide of the post as the Blues got their first sniff of goal on 14 minutes.
Declan Rudd got the better of Che Adams after he went clean through a minute later before he beat away a long-range effort from Jacques Maghoma on 19 minutes.
Gary Gardner failed to hit the target with a first-time effort from just outside the box on 25 minutes, before Jayden Stockley fired wide three minutes later.
Jordan Storey then had a shot cleared off the line by Lukas Jutkiewicz from the resulting corner and Maghoma fired wide after a good turn inside a minute before the break.
Maikel Kieftenbeld could only find the side-netting with a 51st-minute volley as the Blues started well after the break, while Adams fired over the bar five minutes later as the pressure continued.
Callum Robinson came off the bench to make his first Preston appearance in nearly four months as Neil looked to shake things up on the hour mark, and he just failed to get on the end of Stockley's inviting cross on 66 minutes as he looked to add to his 10-goal tally for the season.
Kieftenbeld had a shot blocked by Robinson for a Birmingham corner two minutes later before Ben Pearson sent a long-range volley over.
Mahoney had a shot is palmed away by Rudd on 77 minutes but Maguire finally found the breakthrough as he headed home Johnson's corner to spark wild scenes at Deepdale.
Alex Neil: "We only go under the radar because nobody cares about Preston apart from those involved with Preston - but we don't care. We care about the club and the fans know how it is, and that's all that matters to us.
"I was a bit disappointed in the crowd, really. I think for what this team has done over the last 12 games (eight wins and four draws), they deserved more, but the fans who were here backed us and really showed their support, which we are grateful for.
"If there was ever a time to come and support a Preston team, it's now.
Garry Monk: "It was strong performance and we cannot believe we have lost. We were the best team on the pitch of the two teams. They didn't have anything meaningful against us. We controlled the whole game right to the end.
"It is hard to take still but you can live with the performance when the dust settles. It is just certain things that went against us and us not being clinical enough. It is four defeats in a row but anyone who saw [the game] knows we do not deserve that. The run should have come to an end."