Preston 0-1 Derby: Rams boss Nigel Pearson earns first Championship win
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 17/08/16 10:00am
Craig Forsyth scored three minutes from time to earn Derby a 1-0 Sky Bet Championship victory at Preston and secure their first league win of the season under new manager Nigel Pearson.
The left-back stole the game with a close-range header, condemning Simon Grayson's side to a third successive defeat in the league this term.
To make matters worse, Preston were also consigned to an eighth match without a win at Deepdale, a run dating back to February.
Johnny Russell was gifted an early opportunity in the seventh minute when he latched onto Callum Robinson's loose cross-field ball and drove at the Preston defence, but the winger could only poke wide from 12 yards.
Preston seemed determined to gift Derby chances when Greg Cunningham gave the ball straight to Thomas Ince on the edge of the area, and the Preston left-back had Bailey Wright to thank for producing a crucial block.
Robinson injected some life into the match in the 32nd minute with a superb jinking run, unleashing a fierce left-footed shot from 18 yards that Scott Carson could only push round the post.
From the resulting corner, Preston should have had the lead, as Alan Browne leapt highest at the far post but nodded over from six yards.
However, the best chance of the half fell to Derby after 40 minutes. A long ball into the area was knocked down by Chris Martin, but Ince tamely placed the ball straight at Anders Lindegaard from 15 yards.
Robinson was proving to be Preston's biggest attacking threat and he broke on the Derby defence again after 53 minutes, with his shot deflected into the path of Liam Grimshaw - who fluffed his effort.
Preston had certainly upped the tempo since the break and it drew a response from the home support as Jermaine Beckford's closing down of Forsyth created a chance for Eoin Doyle - but he dragged a shot wide from 20 yards.
That appeared to spark Derby into life as Martin flashed a fierce effort towards the far corner on the hour - but was denied by a magnificent fingertip save by Lindegaard - before Russell could only find the side-netting from six yards.
Pearson brought on Abdoul Camara in the 71st minute and it almost paid off immediately as he shot just wide from 30 yards.
The game developed an increasingly end-to-end affair and it was the hosts threatening four minutes later after a terrific link-up between Doyle and Robinson resulted in the former firing over from 20 yards.
But Derby snatched the win with just three minutes remaining as Will Hughes' cross was met by Forsyth at the far post, who powered his header low into the corner from four yards.