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Last-gasp winner keeps North End’s ‘Great Escape’ on

Posted on - 19th March, 2011 - 5:55pm | Author - | Posted in - Preston North End, Sport

The Great Escape is still on for North End after Nathan Ellington scored a last-minute winner to defeat Coventry City.

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‘Duke’ bagged his first goal for the club in the fourth minute of added on time as PNE threw everything at the visitors.

The Lilywhites had taken the lead in the first half through Iain Hume, but a second-half equaliser from substitute David Bell drew the opposition level.

Preston started the game buoyed by their midweek 3-0 thumping of Scunthorpe, their first win under Phil Brown, but knew anything less than three points could spell the end of their time in the Championship.

The home side started brightly, with on-loan Ricardo Gardner whipping an early cross in to test the Coventry defence after just three minutes.

A crunching tackle on Billy Jones saw Carl Baker pick up the first caution of the game after just six minutes, and the somewhat frantic tempo didn’t relent.

Some good link-up on the left between Gardner and Keith Treacy saw a chance for Preston in the opening ten minutes, but the Coventry back-line was equal to the threat.

Chance

The pair linked up well again just moments later after some good footwork from Treacy put Gardner through, but the Jamaican saw his drive saved well at the near post by Kieren Westwood.

Coventry’s only chance of the first period came as Baker drilled a shot across the six yard box, but it was calmly dealt with by Gardner, who cleared the danger.

On the 20 minute mark, some good persistence in the air by Chris Brown and Eddie Johnson almost saw the home side take the lead.

The ball bobbled through to Iain Hume who turned instinctively on the volley, but his shot flashed inches wide of the upright.

In a spell of good pressure, North End had another good chance to open the scoring. Some good running by Billy Jones on the right saw the ball flash agonisingly across the six-yard-box, when all it needed was a touch.

Their pressure paid off moments later. Treacy showed good skill to get a shot away, but his deflected effort fell kindly at the feet of Iain Hume, who coolly slotted home from six yards.

Some further good pressure saw Preston get on top as the first half came to an end. Keith Treacy’s cross-cum-shot smashing onto the crossbar was the closest the home side came to doubling their lead.

Persistence

PNE started the second half as brightly as the first, coming out of the blocks to ping a number of balls across the opposition’s six-yard-box.

Good running on the flanks by Johnson, Jones and Treacy was causing all sorts of problems for a sluggish Coventry back line, but despite the number of crosses coming into the box, North End failed to make their pressure count.

A good run from Eddie Johnson had the Deepdale crowd on their feet, and when he was hauled down by Richard Keogh the home fans were certain they were going to see a red card.

The referee didn’t agree with the protests and instead brandished the second yellow card of the day.

Two good chances then came for Eddie Johnson, but the American failed to make good contact with either, dragging one wide and heading the other over.

Coventry came into life in the latter parts of the game, catching a tired looking Preston side on the counter attack several times, but it was not until the 71st minute that their tiredness cost them.

A floated ball into the box from Chris Hussey was not dealt with by the home team, and substitute David Bell duly tucked the ball past an on-stretched Turner, for the equaliser.

The game became increasingly stretched in the next fifteen minutes, as both sides looked to take all three points.

As time appeared to be running out, and in the dying seconds of the four minutes added on the match officials, Preston won a corner.

Iain Hume swung a tantalising cross in, which was smashed home by substitute Nathan Ellington with the last kick of the game.

Deepdale erupted as the referee blew the final whistle to confirm Preston’s first back-to-back wins in more than six months.

Teams:

PNE: Turner, Jones, Morgan, St. Ledger, Gardner, Johnson, Ashbee, Carter, Treacy, Hume, Brown. (Subs: Lonergan, Nicholson, Barton, Parry, Ellington, Clarke, Wright.)

COVENTRY: Westwood, Keogh, Clingan, Eastwood, Jutkiewicz, Hussey, Gunnarsson, Baker, McSheffrey, Wood, Clarke. (Subs: O’Halloran, Bell, McIndoe, O’Donovan, Cameron, Quirke, Ruffles.)

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