Preston end Crewe's run
By Simon Fudge. Last Updated: January 3, 2005 10:10pm
Preston North End have moved to within a three points of the play-off places after a 2-1 win at in-form Crewe Alexandra.
Goals from Chris Sedgwick and Brian O'Neil took Preston's unbeaten run to five matches and brought an end to Crewe's impressive eight-match unbeaten streak, despite Richard Walker's late header for the home side at Gresty Road.
Despite scoring the eventual winner, O'Neil (pictured) was sent off with 12 minutes remaining for having pulled down Crewe striker Dean Ashton as the last man.
The Railwaymen fashioned the first chance of the match when skipper Kenny Lunt shot wide with a right footed strike.
However, it was The Lilywhites who took the lead nine minutes in when Sedgwick latched onto a loose ball on the edge of Crewe's box before striking a fine right footed drive past goalkeeper Clayton Ince.
The home side responded with chances of their own, but Ashton, Lunt, Walker and Steve Jones all failed to make the most of their first half opportunities.
David Vaughan had the best opportunity to pull Crewe level before the break after breaking free on goal.
With Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan closing him down, the midfielder saw his right foot shot hit the outside of the post and go wide.
The second half saw Richard Cresswell test Ince with a shot straight on while Crewe's Neil Sorvel curled his effort just over the bar.
Preston then doubled their advantage a minute before the hour mark when Eddie Lewis's free kick from the left found O'Neil at the far post.
His header went off the finger tips of Ince and into the goal to give the visitors a two-goal lead.
O'Neil's night ended prematurely when he was sent off for pulling Ashton back on the edge of the Preston box after he was put clear through.
Three minutes later, The Railwaymen made the final stages a contest when Walker headed home Lunt's inswinging corner from the left to make it 2-1.
Despite having the extra man in the dying stages, Crewe failed to find an equaliser, as Preston held on for an excellent win in Cheshire.
Sky Bet Championship
Mon 3rd Jan
Cardiff3 - 0N Forest
Coventry1 - 2Leeds
Plymouth1 - 2Ipswich
Leicester1 - 0QPR
Sunderland1 - 1Gillingham
Brighton2 - 1Watford
Stoke City0 - 1Burnley
West Ham0 - 2Sheff Utd
Millwall1 - 2Rotherham
Reading0 - 1Derby
Crewe1 - 2Preston
Sky Bet Championship
|2||Queens Park Rangers||18||38|
|11||Brighton and Hove Albion||18||25|