Hugill strikes gold for Preston North End against 10 man Birmingham City

Jordan Hugill scored the winning header in the 75th minute as Preston North End overcame 10 man Birmingham City by two goals to one at Deepdale earlier this evening.

The English striker added the perfect finish to a blistering counter attack late on for the hosts who ran out deserved winners after the visitors had their skipper Craig Gardner dismissed by T. Robinson(referee)late in the second half.

The first chance of the game fell to North End’s new signing Darryl Horgan, who failed to connect with Callum Robinson’s low cross.

McGeady and Robinson combined well down the host’s left flank and the latter steered a dangerous cross across the face of goal which evaded the onrushing Horgan.

It was all North End in the opening stages. Next, it was Jordan Hugill who failed to take advantage of Preston’s dominating start to the game.

Hugill saw his effort saved comfortably by Tomasz Kuszczak after good work from youngster Tyias Browning whose adventurous run down the right flank and cut back, created the opportunity.

Minutes later, North End’s pressure finally paid off. McGeady was in the thick of the action yet again.

The Irish winger, on loan from Everton delivered a pin-point cross to Robinson who reciprocated with an equally brilliant header which rifled the back of Kuszczak’s net to give the hosts a deserved lead.

This was Robinson’s second consecutive league goal in as many matches.

The Preston number 37 almost doubled his and North End’s tally later in a dominant first half for the hosts but was inches away from connecting with McGeady’s chipped cross to the far post.

It took some time for Birmingham City to get into the game. The visitor’s first effort came only in the 32nd minute when Emilio NSue played a good 1–2 with Lukas Jutkiewicz before firing high over Maxwell’s goal.

Ben Pearson and Karim Frei were involved in a short lasting brawl which saw them pick up yellow cards in an entertaining end to the first half.

This booking was the end of Frei’s evening as he made way for Josh Dacres-Cogley as Giofranco Zola looked to his bench to change the game.

Preston were made to pay for their missed chances early in the second half when Che Adams rifled a sumptuous half volley from the edge of the ‘D’ into the bottom left hand corner of Maxwell’s net to bring the blues back on level terms.

With the game lacking a spark, Hugill stepped up and provided what was eventually the winner in the 76th minute. The English forward added the finishing gloss to a blistering counter attack as he reacted quickest to a low cross from Horgan, smashing North End into a late lead and eventually a home win as the home faithful regained their voices after what had been an uneventful second half showing from their team.

Birmingham City’s night went from bad to worse when their skipper was sent his marching orders for a lunging tackle which left Greg Cunningham on the floor.

But it didn’t matter as the Lilywhites gave their supporters the perfect Valentine present on a cold night at Deepdale, as I was lucky to witness the loving atmosphere between the fans and the players at such a tightly knit club.

It was also my best Valentines Day to this date as i realised what true love really is. It’s watching football.