Preston 3-2 Millwall: North End continue climb up table
Goals from Alan Browne, Tom Barkhuizen and Andrew Hughes help Preston past Millwall.
Last Updated: 15/12/18 7:02pm
Preston sealed back-to-back victories in the Championship with a battling 3-2 win over Millwall at a freezing Deepdale.
First-half goals from Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen and a late strike from Andrew Hughes secured all three points for Alex Neil's side.
Millwall were much-improved in the second half and scored through Jake Cooper and Lee Gregory.
But Neil Harris' Lions slipped into the relegation zone and have not won in their last seven games.
The hosts just about edged the opening stages, with Barkhuizen blasting over from the edge of the box on 13 minutes.
Millwall looked reliant on set-pieces to find a breakthrough, with Shaun Hutchinson heading over from Jed Wallace's corner on 23 minutes.
Preston eventually found a way through on 37 minutes, with Lukas Nmecha's neat through ball sending Ireland international Browne through to slot home from a tight angle.
Barkuizen doubled their lead five minutes later, catching the visitors on the counter attack after their own corner.
Paul Gallagher's long ball forward found the former Morecambe player in space behind the Millwall back four and Barkhuizen calmly finished past Jordan Archer.
Neil's side started the second half with real intent and Gallagher forced Archer into a sprawling save just three minutes after the restart.
Millwall's direct approach continued to pose a threat for the home side, Wallace brilliantly denied by Declan Rudd from close range from Ryan Tunnicliffe's knock down on 56 minutes.
The visitors hauled themselves back into it on the hour mark, with Cooper nodding in at the back post as Preston failed to clear Shane Ferguson's deep corner.
Hutchinson then missed a great chance to equalise three minutes later, heading over from another Ferguson corner.
Preston worked hard to weather the storm in the closing 20 minutes, with Rudd claiming three corners in quick succession as Millwall looked to turn the screw.
The hosts finally made the game safe on 81 minutes, as Hughes curled home a 20-yard free kick after Cooper had brought down Nmecha.
Ben Pearson almost made it 4-1 in on 90 minutes, but his long-range strike cannoned back off the crossbar.
Gregory set up a tense final few minutes for Preston, with a close range finish in added time, but the hosts had just enough to get over the line.
Alex Neil: "These type of games and teams never really make for a spectacle. They tend to be very direct, it is absolutely freezing and in the second half our performance wasn't great.
"But I think there are certain games over the season that results are more important than performances and I think that today certainly falls into that category. I thought that it was a bit of a mixed performance on the whole."
Neil Harris: "It was groundhog day for us, we've conceded five or six chances and conceded three goals. At the other end we've created about 10 clear cut chances and scored two and ultimately we've come away with nothing from the game.
"In the 30 or so minutes before they score the opening goal, I cannot remember Preston being in our penalty area, but the two times the ball goes into our penalty area in the first half we concede. We simply cannot give opportunities like that away and expect to get away with it, because at this level it gives you a mountain to climb."