Preston see off Rams
Parkin and St Ledger on target in victory
Last Updated: 26/12/08 5:51pm
St Ledger: Broke deadlock
Preston North End enhanced their Championship promotion credentials with a 2-0 victory over struggling Derby County.
Jon Parkin's rich vein of form continued as he netted a third goal in as many home games, after highly-rated North End defender Sean St Ledger opened the scoring.
Giant striker Parkin, nicknamed 'The Beast', had scored the winning goals as a substitute in the previous two home matches against Doncaster and Birmingham.
His reward was a place in the starting line-up against Derby and his goal was a key contribution to Preston's 10th home win of the season.
Alan Irvine's men went into the game seeking to enhance their play-off credentials and on-loan Sunderland winger Ross Wallace delivered a dangerous cross in the third minute which required Rams goalkeeper Stephen Bywater to be alert.
Yet the Rams showed their quality in the fourth minute when Jordan Stewart produced a teasing cross, only for St Ledger to clear the danger.
However, the ball fell to Miles Addison 20 yards from goal and he volleyed in a right-footed shot which Youl Mawene did well to block.
In the 12th minute, Preston threatened again when Wallace crossed dangerously and midfielder Richard Chaplow hit a right-footed shot from 12 yards which flew over the crossbar.
Six minutes later, the impressive Wallace sent over an inswinging corner from the right flank and defender Billy Jones headed just wide from six yards.
Derby went close in the 20th minute when striker Rob Hulse engineered the space to hit a fierce right-footed shot which full-back Callum Davidson blocked bravely.
In the 22nd minute, Wallace forced Bywater into a smart stop with a right-footed shot from 18 yards.
Then came St Ledger's opener when he slotted the ball under Bywater with a low right-footed shot from 12 yards.
The pendulum swung back towards the Rams two minutes later when Nathan Ellington delivered a clever cross which forced St Ledger into a fine clearance.
In the 43rd minute, Derby midfielder Paul Green had a 20-yard shot saved by Andy Lonergan but the visitors created another opening immediately after.
Gary Teale crossed dangerously and Hulse arrived to head woefully wide from six yards out.
The Rams were almost punished on the stroke of half-time when Parkin connected with a cross from Wallace and volleyed just wide from 20 yards.
In the 48th minute, Derby midfielder Kris Commons found the space to hit a left-footed shot from 18 yards which Lonergan saved with his feet.
Green then hit a shot wide as Derby threatened an equaliser but Wallace hit the post with a free-kick in the 52nd minute and their hopes were dashed in the 68th minute when Parkin found the net to seal the win for North End.
Wallace crossed from the left flank and Parkin found scored with a brilliant right-footed shot from 18 yards.
Davidson then fired wide as Preston threatened a third goal before Hulse headed over the bar as Derby were left without an away win since October.
Sky Bet Championship
Fri 26th Dec
Watford2 - 4Bristol C
C Palace3 - 1Norwich
Charlton2 - 2QPR
N Forest2 - 4Doncaster
Plymouth2 - 0Southampton
Reading1 - 1Cardiff
Swansea0 - 0Coventry
Sheff Wed1 - 1Blackpool
Burnley1 - 2Barnsley
Wolves1 - 1Sheff Utd
Preston2 - 0Derby
Ipswich0 - 1Birmingham
Sky Bet Championship
|4||Queens Park Rangers||43||73|
|6||Brighton and Hove Albion||43||65|