Preston hit Cardiff for six
North End run riot against Bluebirds
Last Updated: 18/04/09 5:42pm
Mellor: At the double
Preston boosted their promotion hopes with a 6-0 thumping of play-off rivals Cardiff at Deepdale.
Cardiff were never at the races as they saw their hopes of gatecrashing the automatic promotion places all but ended.
The win moves Preston to within one point of Burnley for the final spot in the play-offs with two games remaining for Alan Irvine's men.
Preston started brightly but were almost undone in the 11th minute when Cardiff striker Jay Bothroyd found the space to hit a left-footed shot from six yards.
Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan made a smart stop to deny Bothroyd and the pendulum soon swung in Preston's favour.
They were rewarded when Neil Mellor found the space to fire home a right-foot shot from six yards in the 17th minute after a deft header from Jon Parkin.
The goal was another reminder of Mellor's striking prowess after had found the net in the 2-0 win at Doncaster on Easter Monday.
However, Cardiff came back strongly and in the 22nd minute Peter Whittingham delivered an inswinging corner and Roger Johnson's firm header from six yards was repelled by Lonergan.
Cardiff went even closer in the 27th minute when Kevin McNaughton crossed dangerously and Bothroyd headed wastefully over the crossbar.
Ross Wallace then fired wide from 30 yards for Preston before Bothroyd drew another fine stop from Lonergan in the 35th minute.
Bothroyd collected possession on the edge of the 18-yard box and hit a fierce left-foot shot which forced Lonergan to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.
From the resulting corner by Whittingham from the left byline, midfielder Gavin Rae hit a fierce right-foot volley from 18 yards which sailed just wide of Lonergan's left-hand post.
In the 41st minute it was 2-0 when Johnson cleared a free-kick only as far as Mellor and his low right-foot shot whistled into the net from 20 yards.
MissCardiff had an opportunity to haul themselves back into the game in the 45th minute when Billy Jones fouled Joe Ledley but Ross McCormack's right-foot penalty was saved by Lonergan.
Preston dominated after the break and Wallace was denied by Bluebirds goalkeeper Stuart Taylor in the 48th minute.
However, Taylor was powerless to prevent the hosts claiming a third goal in the 51st minute when Mellor supplied Parkin and the big striker rifled home a powerful shot from 18 yards.
Three minutes later it got worse for Cradiff as Mark Kennedy headed a cross from Mellor into his own net and Preston went in search of more goals.
They were rewarded in the 75th minute when Chris Brown - who replaced Parkin in the 58th minute - greeted a cross from Chris Sedgwick with a firm header which flew into the back of the net.
The sixth goal arrived four minutes from time when Lee Williamson swept home a fine pass from Wallace to leave Cardiff stunned.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 18th Apr
Reading0 - 0Barnsley
Plymouth0 - 3Doncaster
N Forest1 - 0Coventry
Watford0 - 1Birmingham
Swansea1 - 0Bristol C
Sheff Wed2 - 0Southampton
Preston6 - 0Cardiff
Charlton2 - 2Blackpool
C Palace1 - 0Derby
Wolves1 - 0QPR
Sky Bet Championship
|4||Queens Park Rangers||43||73|
|6||Brighton and Hove Albion||43||65|