R's see off plucky Preston
Blackstock on target as Lilywhites lose in London
Last Updated: 20/12/08 6:05pm
Blackstock: Late winner
Dexter Blackstock's 86th minute goal ensured Queens Park Rangers' play-off hunt is back on track with a 3-2 win over a plucky Preston North End side.
Paulo Sousa's side twice led through goals from Heidar Helguson, only for Preston to hit back in controversial circumstances.
Chris Sedgwick's effort cancelled out Helguson's opener, although the home fans were unhappy at the penalty award for Preston's second after Sean St Ledger was adjudged to have been fouled by Radek Cerny.
However, it mattered not as Blackstock's late winner ensured The R's claimed all three points from a five-goal thriller.
The hosts, who have been in fine form at home this season, almost went ahead inside the opening two minutes only to be denied by a superb double save from Andy Lonergan.
The goalkeeper hurled himself to his right to keep out Lee Cook's curling shot, and then managed to block the follow-up from former Preston striker Patrick Agyemang.
They took the lead after quarter of an hour when the impressive Cook swung in a cross from the left and Helguson darted in front of St Ledger and headed past Lonergan.
First meaningful attack
But 12 minutes later Preston hauled themselves level with their first meaningful attack.
Skipper Paul McKenna was given far too much space in the penalty area and he picked out Sedgwick, who planted a firm header past Cerny and into the corner of the net.
The visitors should have gone ahead moments later, but Youl Mawene blasted over the crossbar from close range following a corner.
And Rangers went back into the lead 10 minutes before half-time when Agyemang brought down Martin Rowlands' corner and Helguson prodded the loose ball over the line.
They almost had a third when Agyemang played in Cook, but the on-loan Fulham midfielder missed his kick in front of goal.
After the break, Lonergan saved well from Cook and Agyemang, while Eddie Nolan skied a good chance for Preston.
But the game exploded in controversy on the hour when Wiley adjudged Cerny to have brought down St Ledger in the area despite not a single Preston player appealing for a foul.
After the protests from the hosts had died down, Davidson stepped up to thump the ball down the centre past the diving Cerny.
Substitute Mikele Leigertwood and Hogan Ephraim fizzed shots wide as Rangers went in search of a winner.
And the breakthrough came when Rowlands swung in a free-kick which Blackstock met with a glancing header to give Lonergan no chance.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 20th Dec
Birmingham1 - 3Reading
Derby1 - 0Watford
Doncaster0 - 1Wolves
Cardiff2 - 0Sheff Wed
Norwich1 - 0Charlton
Southampton0 - 2N Forest
Coventry2 - 2Ipswich
Barnsley2 - 0Plymouth
Blackpool1 - 1Swansea
Bristol C1 - 2Burnley
QPR3 - 2Preston
Sheff Utd2 - 2C Palace
Sky Bet Championship
|1||Queens Park Rangers||20||42|
|8||Brighton and Hove Albion||20||31|