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Match Reports

Hutch header secures away win at Deepdale

Saturday afternoon at Preston North End

15 February 2020

Shaun Hutchinson's late header secured an away victory for Millwall on Saturday afternoon as The Lions defeated Preston North End 1-0 in the Sky Bet Championship.

In an affair of many chances - played amongst the torrential conditions of Storm Dennis - Hutchinson nodded home at the back post with 12 minutes remaining to secure success on the road.

Gary Rowett named an unchanged squad for the trip to Deepdale, meaning that Wednesday's goalscorer Jon Dadi Bodvarsson kept his place in the front three alongside Jed Wallace and Tom Bradshaw, whilst Ryan Woods and Jayson Molumby occupied the midfield.

The home side were keeping possession well in the opening five minutes of the game but failed to penetrate Millwall's penalty area. Just a minute later, though, Preston did just that - twice - with firstly Tom Barkhiuzen's tumble rightly dismissed by referee Tony Harrington, before Mahlon Romeo expertly blocked Scott Sinclair's goal-bound effort.

Daniel Johnson could have then put North End into the lead but his effort was saved by Bartosz Bialkowski, before David Nugent ballooned his follow-up over the crossbar. Sinclair was the next to fire at Bialkowski, but the stopper gathered.

Millwall, meanwhile, were really struggling to keep hold of the ball as wave after wave of Preston pressure arrived, but they could have opened the scoring after a Jed Wallace corner caused a goalmouth scramble; The Lilywhites were able to smuggle the ball behind, however.

The Lions were now in the game, and after weathering the storm it was Jake Cooper who danced his way into the box and played a one-two with Jed Wallace, but unfortunately the defender's poke at goal was stopped by Declan Rudd. An enticing Jed Wallace cross was then just beaten away by Rudd despite the attentions of Bodvarsson as the pendulum had firmly swung in Millwall's favour.

Millwall were moving the ball well and had a half-chance just before the half-hour mark, but after Cooper dragged back for Jed Wallace, who in turn laid the ball off for Molumby, the Irishman's scuffed strike was flicked towards goal by Bradshaw before being saved by Rudd. Barkhuizen then drilled wide for North End as the home side looked to come back to life.

The rest of the first-half became a midfield battle from there, but there was one last chance - and it fell to The Lions, but Jed Wallace found the arms of Rudd with an effort.

The second-half began amidst swirling wind and rain, and it was Millwall were fashioning chances; a delightful through-ball from Molumby found the run of Jed Wallace, but the winger's shot was blocked behind.

The Deepdale crowd was beginning to grow restless with their side's lack of attacking intent, whilst the 712 Lions fans in attendance were driving their team on - and they nearly did so to a first goal of the game on 62 minutes, but after taking advantage of a defensive mishap, Bradshaw smacked the crossbar with an effort which had Rudd beaten. A corner then fell onto the head of Hutchinson, but his nod towards goal was blocked by the goalkeeper.

A Murray Wallace cross then found Bodvarsson inside the area, but his control was poor as the ball rolled out of play. Storm Dennis began to grip hold of the stadium as the final 20 minutes approached, but The Lions were not deterred as they continued to pen their opponents into their own half - the final ball, however, was lacking and the game remained goalless.

Slick football handed The Lions another chance with just 12 minutes remaining, but Bodvarsson's shot was blocked behind. From the resulting corner, though, came the first goal of the afternoon - persistent work from Murray Wallace kept the ball alive, with Hutchinson springing the offside trap to nod home at the far post.

The Lions were not resting on their laurels from there; as the rain became torrential, both Jed Wallace and Bodvarsson had efforts to double the lead blocked, before substitute Connor Mahoney's attempt was saved.

Bialkowski, a relative bystander for large parts of the second-half, had to be on guard in four minutes of stoppage-time to tip away a Paul Gallagher free-kick, before a late penalty shout for the home side was turned away by Harrington.

Preston North End: Rudd, Pearson, Clarke, Davies, Browne (Gallagher 65'), Johnson, Hughes, Bauer, Barkhuizen, Sinclair (Harrop 65'), Nugent (Maguire 76'). Subs not used: Hudson, Rafferty, Stockley, Potts.

Booking: Johnson, Pearson, Gallagher

Millwall: Bialkowski, M. Wallace, Hutchinson, Cooper, J. Wallace (Smith 90+3'), Bradshaw (Mahoney 76'), Romeo, Pearce, Molumby, Woods, Bodvarsson (Leonard 86'). Subs not used: Steele, Ferguson, O'Brien, Skalak.

Scorer: Hutchinson 78'

Booking: Cooper

Referee: Tony Harrington

Attendance: 12,468 (712)

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