Preston 2-3 West Brom: Baggies go top of the Sky Bet Championship
Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle on target again as West Brom go top of Sky Bet Championship.
Last Updated: 30/09/18 4:55pm
West Brom's superb start to the season continued as strike partners Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle punished Preston in a hard-fought 3-2 victory at Deepdale.
Rodriguez and Gayle struck either side of a Ben Davies own goal to move West Brom to the top of the Championship and consign Preston to the foot of the table despite goals from Andrew Hughes and Alan Browne.
Following a drab opening 45 minutes, all five goals arrived in the second half. Rodriguez nodded home his seventh of the season straight after the break to give the Baggies the advantage before Hughes curled in a fine equaliser.
But just as Preston looked to turn the match around, Davies then nodded past his own goalkeeper Chris Maxwell. That own goal left Preston on the back foot and Rodriguez capitalised late on, curling home a fine free-kick before Browne nabbed a late consolation.
Rodriguez and Gayle are both helping to set the early goalscoring pace in the Championship this term and West Brom did not take long to threaten as Maxwell produced a fine point-blank save to tip over a close Kyle Bartley header early on.
After 11 minutes, it was Preston's turn to nearly seize the lead but Ryan Ledson's 20-yard strike bounced back off the foot of the post and away to safety.
The game entered a lull as half-time approached and neither side could claim to be dominating an encounter that was full of effort and intent but precious little real threat.
Immediately after the restart though the game exploded into life and West Brom finally made their quality count as Rodriguez broke the deadlock, rising highest to brilliantly finish off Jake Livermore's intelligent cross.
The goal sparked Preston into life as they knew they needed a quick response and although Brandon Barker and Ledson battled hard, the visitors' muscular defence had little to worry about until Ben Pearson was fouled on the edge of the box after 70 minutes.
That allowed Hughes to step up and curl a fine effort into the far corner that left Sam Johnstone unsighted and helpless.
However, Preston were only level for two minutes as Davies attempted to head a threatening cross away but could only loop it over Maxwell.
Gayle then stepped up and hit a wonderful 20-yard free-kick in the dying moments and although Browne that nodded home a close-range goal deep into injury time, Preston could not find an equaliser.
Alex Neil: "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about the table. We need to pick up a lot more points and pick them up quickly. Winning is a habit and losing can also be a habit. The fact is that we need to muck in together and it's frustrating for the players and the coach.
"All we can do is keeping working hard, they're a good bunch and they want to put it right. We've got two really important games coming up then a break then a batch of really important games. I think the character of the players and the club is that we don't give up, we keep going."
Darren Moore: "We want to get better and we're constantly working at that. We're a team in transition, we're trying to change our style of play and get results in a very, very difficult division. It's a tough division and we're one of 24 teams in a relentless, exciting Championship.
"I think there's more to come and more had to come, together, collectively as a unit and together as a football club. We will keep working at that and we have to keep working at that. We will savour this result over the next 24 hours and then we focus on the next midweek game and go back to work."