Robins crash in Deepdale fog
Lilywhites march into the top six
Last Updated: 29/11/08 7:31pm
Elliott: Opened the scoring
Preston have risen into the Championship play-off places following a 2-0 win over Bristol City.
On a freezing night in the North West, with thick fog engulfing Deepdale, the Lilywhites had Stephen Elliott and Ross Wallace to thank for handing them all three points.
Alan Irvine's side had been pushed onto the back foot following a bright start from the Robins, with Michael McIndoe posing a considerable threat down the flanks, but they went ahead on the half-hour mark.
Wallace was awarded far too much time and space down the left and when the Scot fizzed over a low cross Elliott, who had only been on the field five minutes, was on hand to rifle home.
City never looked like finding a leveller, despite dominating possession, and saw any hope they had of snatching a point disappear 10 minutes after the interval.
It was Wallace once again who proved to be a thorn in their side, drifting across the edge of the box before unleashing a 20-yard drive towards goal.
His effort did take a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Louis Carey, but Preston were delighted to accept the good fortune as they marched into sixth spot.
City could have taken the lead as early as the fourth minute when McIndoe struck the post after a sweet volley from 20 yards.
Preston passed the ball confidently in the early exchanges and had their first chance after nine minutes when Neil Mellor volleyed a difficult chance high and wide.
Nicky Maynard made a surging run through the Preston defence before being brought down by Youl Mawene 25 yards from goal and from the resulting free kick McIndoe drilled a rasping drive goalbound which was palmed wide by North End stopper Andy Lonergan.
Robins goalkeeper Adriano Basso then made a magnificent save after Billy Jones' deflected free-kick left him wrong-footed before readjusting and clawing the ball from the goal-line.
Preston suffered a blow after 24 minutes when top goalscorer Mellor was replaced by Elliott after jarring his hip and groin following a collision with the advertisement hoardings.
But it was the substitute who put the hosts ahead five minutes after coming on - Wallace charged down the left-wing before fizzing a cross into the six-yard box which was slotted home first time by Elliott.
He should have doubled the advantage three minutes into the second half when he headed Chris Sedgwick's cross wide from a yard out.
City boss Gary Johnson replaced Dele Adebola with Lee Trundle early in the second period and he nearly played through Marvin Elliott to level matters but his strike was saved low down by Lonergan.
Preston extended their lead in the 55th minute as Paul McKenna faked a free-kick at goal before laying it short to Wallace, who shrugged off one defender before firing a deflected shot past the helpless Basso.
The hosts continued to control proceedings and Chris Sedgwick should have wrapped up the victory after Paul McKenna picked out the unmarked midfielder in the box but his shot ballooned high over the bar.
It should have been 3-0 with 11 minutes to play when Chris Brown played in Elliott but he skewed his shot wide of the upright.
Despite a late chance for Trundle the Robins failed to give themselves any hope of salvaging anything from the clash and Preston eased to victory.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 29th Nov
Wolves1 - 1Birm'ham
Watford1 - 1Doncaster
C Palace0 - 0QPR
N Forest1 - 0Barnsley
Burnley3 - 0Derby
Plymouth1 - 2Blackpool
Charlton0 - 0So'ton
Ipswich1 - 1Sheff Utd
Sheff Wed3 - 2Norwich
Preston2 - 0Bristol C
Sky Bet Championship
|20||Brighton and Hove Albion||18||18|