25 Jan 2019
LG PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: THE LILYWHITES SCORE FOUR AT LOFTUS ROAD
The League Managers Association’s five-man panel, comprising LMA Chairman Howard Wilkinson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Joe Royle, Dave Bassett and Barry Fry, has determined that the LG Performance of the Week Award should go to Preston North End for their 1 – 4 victory over QPR on Saturday 19th January.
The experienced and highly distinguished panel has managed a combined total of over 6,000 competitive matches in professional football.
Preston North End Manager Alex Neil will receive a celebratory bottle of champagne, courtesy of Tanners Wines, and an LG Performance of the Week trophy in a presentation to commemorate the result.
Preston North End put on a stellar performance at Loftus Road to blow away Queens Park Rangers, with three players getting their first goals for the club.
A stunner from Jayden Stockley put them one up before half-time, before Jordan Storey and Alan Browne’s ninth of the season put them three ahead.
Substitute Matt Smith pulled one back for Steve McClaren’s Rangers, only for Brad Potts to drill home in the closing stages to put the icing on cake on a stunning afternoon in the capital, their third in a row at Loftus Road for the first time.
Manager Alex Neil made four changes to the side that had drawn with Swansea City the previous week, Sean Maguire, Darnell Fisher, Paul Gallagher coming in from the bench, whilst Ben Davies returned from injury at the heart of the defence, Tom Clarke – ruled out with injury – Huntington, Barkhuizen and Daniel Johnson dropping out.
With the changes, also came a formation alteration as well, with a 4-1-4-1 seeing the home side somewhat perplexed in the opening minutes, with the Lilywhites on top.
Five minutes in, a ball from the right touchline by skipper Gallagher seemed destined for Stockley, making a storming run into the six-yard box, but opposition captain Toni Leistner timed his slide well, cutting out the ball on the right-hand edge of the six-yard box with Stockley waiting.
But in the 14th minute a flurry of activity eventually saw the opening goal. Firstly, Maguire played a ball over the top for Alan Browne in left hand channel; his first-time half volley from 20 yards flashed over Rangers keeper Joe Lumley, but inches over the left corner of the bar.
But within seconds the Lilywhites were ahead. From the resulting goal kick by Lumley, Josh Scowen received the ball on the edge of the box, which was nicked away by Browne and Stockley curled a beautiful shot into the top right-hand corner from 18 yards out in a left hand channel with his right foot, for his first PNE goal since his move from Exeter City.
Six minutes before the interval Gallagher sent Potts down the right, his pull back was blocked by Leistner, but only to Maguire, who curled a shot from the edge of the ‘D’ just wide of the right-hand upright.
Declan Rudd was called into action seven minutes after the break, a superb one-handed save down to his left to push a first time shot from Nahki Wells around the post, after a flick on from half-time substitute Smith. From the resulting corner Darnell Furlong’s header came off the top of the bar.
And if one first of the day wasn’t enough, on 68 minutes Storey grabbed his first goal in PNE colours too - the two former Grecians making it 2-0.
Gallagher had drawn a free kick from Scowen on the right, and the North End No.12 whipped a superb ball into the box, flicked on by Storey's defensive partner Davies, for the No.14 at the back post to slam the ball into the top corner, giving Lumley no chance.
Potts and substitute Lukas Nmecha – on for Stockley – combined to force a brilliant save from Lumley, but it was only a precursor to the third goal.
A corner from the left, in front of a boisterous PNE following, was swung in to the near post to where Storey turned provider, with a flick through to the back post, to where Browne timed his run perfectly to bury the ball from close range with a header, eight minutes from time.
This was the Irishman's ninth goal of a productive season so far, but his first away from Deepdale.
Smith pulled a goal back just two minutes later, on 84, when he rose highest in the box to reach a cross from Jake Bidwell and head down and then past the outstretched arm of Rudd into the right-hand corner of the goal to narrow the score to 3-1.
But the margin was again three on 87 minutes - as PNE scored four away from home in the league for the first time since February 2015 - and this time Potts grabbed his first PNE goal.
Tom Barkhuizen, who had replaced Maguire, played the ball through to Nmecha, who raced in, stinging the gloves of Lumley, who could not keep hold of the vicious effort, the ball coming out to the onrushing Potts, who drilled it past the R's No.1, off the inside of the left-hand post and into the net to make it 4-1, which the score remained as the side saw the game out comfortably.
Source: Preston North End