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Derby day defeat leaves PNE staring relegation in the face

Posted on - 26th February, 2011 - 10:28pm | Author - | Posted in - Preston North End, Sport

Preston North End lost to their local rivals leaving them rooted to the bottom of the table.

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Despite taking the lead through Barry Nicholson, PNE conceded twice to allow Burnley to do the double over them for the first time since the 2001/02 season.

Manchester City were also in Division One that season but unlike their North-West rivals the Lilywhites have gone backwards and now look certain to play League One football next season.

PNE were the better team for large parts of Saturday’s game but Jay Rodriguez and Jack Cork showed a cutting edge in front of goal to secure three points for the visitors.

Although it looked as though Phil Brown would stick with a 4-4-2 formation PNE played a slightly negative 4-5-1 formation with the returning Leon Clarke playing on the wing. The only other change to the starting line up saw Craig Morgan replace the unavailable Leon Cort.

Both teams had early chances as Billy Jones and Chris Eagles both went close but for the first 15 minutes the match was frenetic and neither side managed to gain a foothold in the game.

After the opening stages PNE managed to control the tempo of the game and after 23 minutes Barry Nicholson scored for the third time in his last three games to the delight of the home fans.

But the lead was short lived as just nine minutes later Eagles found Rodriguez who levelled the scores.

The rest of the first half passed without incident and both sides would have been reasonably happy with their first half display.

For much of the second half PNE dominated possession but constantly gave the ball away in the final third meaning their good play was for nothing.

Brown brought on the North American pair of Iain Hume and Eddie Johnson to try and force a winner. It was Hume’s first appearance since the 2-0 loss to Barnsley on February 1 and North End’s fans will be glad to have the Canadian international back.

But it was one of Burnley’s substitutes who changed the game, Wade Elliott’s came on for former Preston man Ross Wallace and his cross was met by Jack Cork who headed home the winner.

PNE did have one chance to equalise when Billy Jones headed at goal in injury time but his shot was saved by Lee Grant preventing the full back from repeating his heroics of Tuesday night.

PNE travel to Carrow Road next Saturday desperate for a win against second placed Norwich.

PNE: Turner 7, Gray 7, Morgan 6, St. Ledger 7, Jones 7, Coutts 6 (Hume 6), Nicholson 7, Ashbee 7, Treacy 7 (Carter n/a), Ellington 6, Clarke 6 (Johnson 6). Unused subs: Lonergan, Wright, Parry, Hayes.

Burnley: Grant 7, Mears 7, Duff 7, Carlisle 7, Fox 6, Wallace 6 (Elliott 7), Marney 5, Cork 7, Eagles 7 (Alexander n/a), Iwelumo 7 (Austin n/a), Rodriguez 7. Unused subs: Jensen, Bikey, Bartley, Thompson.

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