Elliott winner in PNE thriller
North End hang on and move up to fourth in Championship
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: 28/02/09 7:11pm
Elliott: PNE winner
Preston's play-off hopes received a boost thanks to Stephen Elliott's second-half strike snatching a vital win over Ipswich at Deepdale.
Callum Davidson's penalty had put the home side 1-0 up after only four minutes but Tommy Miller equalised with an excellent finish after being played in by Luciano Civelli.
Four minutes before the break Jon Parkin capitalised on a mix-up between Richard Wright and Alex Bruce to put Preston back in front and they looked to be home and dry when Elliott finished at the far post just after the hour mark.
However, Miller's excellent free-kick two minutes later put Ipswich back in it.
The home crowd became more nervous as Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan denied Pablo Counago and Civelli before substitute Kevin Lisbie saw a shot come back off the inside of the post.
The win was enough to move Preston up to fourth and extend their unbeaten league run at Deepdale to 10 games, while Ipswich remained three points adrift of the play-offs.
The home side made a bright start and opened the scoring when Davidson stroked home his fourth goal of the season from the penalty spot after Elliott, put through by Simon Whaley, was brought down by Bruce.
Ipswich reacted well to going a goal behind so early and just minutes later Moritz Volz got away down the right and crossed for Jonathan Stead who was unable to direct his header on target.
North End were struggling to cope with Stead's aerial threat and the tall striker found space in the box once again from Alan Quinn's corner but his header was well saved by Lonergan.
The Tractor Boys pressed for an equaliser and they had it on the half-hour mark when Sean St Ledger gave the ball away to Civelli who played in Miller and he finished superbly from inside the box.
However just before the break Ipswich conspired to undo all their hard work when Wright and Bruce failed to cope with a long ball and Parkin capitalised to head in.
The visitors made a bright start to the second half and Counago's header was tipped over by Lonergan before the Preston keeper made another excellent save to deny Civelli.
Preston gradually found their rhythm again and with 61 minutes gone Ross Wallace whipped in a superb cross from the right which Wright got nowhere near and Elliott was on hand to finish at the far post.
Two minutes later Eddie Nolan fouled Lisbie and Miller stepped up to curl home a superb free kick from 20 yards and give Ipswich hope again.
Jim Magilton's side were buoyed by the goal and came agonisingly close to grabbing an equaliser when Lisbie cut in from the left and drove in a fierce effort which cannoned off the inside of the post.
With minutes remaining Lonergan came to Preston's rescue once again with an excellent save from Lisbie's overhead kick as Ipswich failed to find a way back.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 28th Feb
Reading0 - 1N Forest
Swansea1 - 1Charlton
Southampton1 - 0Cardiff
Preston3 - 2Ipswich
Wolves0 - 1Plymouth
Bristol C0 - 0Blackpool
Barnsley2 - 1QPR
Norwich1 - 2Coventry
Watford2 - 0C Palace
Burnley2 - 4Sheff Wed
Sky Bet Championship
|4||Queens Park Rangers||35||63|
|8||Brighton and Hove Albion||35||56|