The Championship’s longest serving team have been relegated to League One after losing 1-0 to Cardiff.Advertisement
Although Preston North End performed much better than they did on Saturday they couldn’t find a way past Cardiff’s resolute defence.
Peter Whittingham gave Cardiff the lead early on and even though they grew into the game PNE didn’t have enough going forward to force a positive result.
North End made two changes from the side that capitulated against Millwall. Leon Cort came in for the injured Bongani Khumalo while Eddie Johnson didn’t even make the bench and was replaced by Nathan Ellington.
Cardiff started on the front foot and after just five minutes captain Craig Bellamy beat the offside trap and squared the ball to Whittingham who made it 1-0.
It was a sign of things to come as Bellamy continued to cause North End’s defence problems all afternoon.
Bellamy and Seyi Olofinjana both came close to doubling Cardiff’s lead but after 20 minutes PNE started to gain some control.
While North End didn’t look like scoring themselves they were starting to limit Cardiff’s opportunities and things were looking up.
With half an hour gone disaster struck as PNE’s star man Iain Hume was injured by a JLloyd Samuel tackle.
Although the Canadian tried bravely to battle on he was forced off the pitch and Darel Russell replaced him.
PNE began to control possession but despite having more of the ball they were unable to create any clear cut chances.
North End’s best chance came late in the half when Chris Brown hit the post and from the rebound Nathan Ellington had a shot cleared on the line.
There was then a moment of confusion as Cardiff’s players surrounded the referee and it seemed as though he had awarded a penalty.
In the end play restarted with a Preston throw in and nobody was sure what had sparked Cardiff’s complaints.
The second half carried on in the same vein as PNE had plenty of possession and pushed for a goal but lacked any cutting edge.
It was in fact Cardiff who looked the more likely to score with Olofinjana, Whittingham and McPhail all spurning good chances.
Despite throwing everything at the Bluebirds North End were made to rue the injury to Hume as they lacked a spark up front and Cardiff saw the game out comfortably.
After Crystal Palace’s 1-0 win against Leeds PNE’s relegation was confirmed and it looks for all the world as though Scunthorpe and Sheffield United will be joining them.
Since Phil Brown’s arrival PNE have looked a better side and they will be hoping that he and some of their better players will still be at the club in August when the Lilywhites attempt to bounce back.
PNE: Turner 8, Nicholson 7, Morgan 6, Cort 7 (Barton 5), Jones 7, Hume 7 (Russell 6), Ashbee 6, Carter 6, Treacy 7, Brown 7, Ellington 6 (Hayes 5). Unused subs: Lonergan, Wright, Devine, Proctor.
Cardiff: Heaton 7, McNaughton 6 (Hudson 6), Keinan 7, Quinn 7, Samuel 6, Burke 7, Olofinjana 6, McPhail 6, Whittingham 8, Bellamy 9 (Chopra 5), Bothroyd 7. Unused subs: Brown, Rae, Koumas, Blake, Parkin.
What now for Preston North End? Will they bounce back next season? Or will a mass exodus at Deepdale force an unpleasant future in League One? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.