Monday 19 February 2018

Sean Maguire has hand in another win for Preston while Meyler finds target for Hull

David Meyler
David Meyler
Hull City's David Meyler

Preston scored three times in 12 second-half minutes as they hit back from a goal down to claim their first away win of the season at Birmingham.

Daniel Johnson cancelled out Maxime Colin's opener for the Blues before forward duo Jordan Hugill and Tom Barkhuizen struck soon afterwards to secure a 3-1 victory for Preston at St Andrew's.

It was a second win in a week for the Lilywhites, who had ended Cardiff's unbeaten start to the Championship season on Tuesday, and they have now collected 11 points from their last available 15.

While Preston are flying high in fourth, Birmingham slipped to their sixth successive defeat in all competitions to leave Harry Redknapp's side second from bottom with four points from eight fixtures.

Their afternoon was compounded by a leg injury to Jason Lowe, who lasted just two minutes on his home debut following his move from Blackburn on deadline day.

Two minutes later another newcomer, Harlee Dean, very nearly marked his St Andrew's debut with an own goal and only a reflex save by David Stockdale prevented Preston taking the lead.

The visitors played with the confidence of a team in the top six and there was a high tempo about their game despite Hugill and Josh Earl collecting disputed yellow cards in the first half hour.

A spell of intensive Birmingham pressure finally paid off in the 35th minute and it was another newcomer in Colin who broke the stalemate.

There appeared little danger as Colin gained possession near the byline but he cleverly wrong footed Calum Woods and ran inside to hammer home a low angled shot past Chris Maxwell.

There was a more positive attacking policy from Preston early in the second half when both Sean Maguire and Josh Harrop tested Stockdale with long range efforts.

This pressure eventually paid off in the 55th minute. Johnson gained possession and advanced unchecked to equalise with a blistering 25-yard low shot which easily beat the slow moving Stockdale.

Preston took full advantage of Birmingham's disorganised defence when Hugill put the Lilywhites ahead on the hour.

The Preston striker cut in from the left and Stockdale had little chance with his powerful shot which went home at the near post.

North End put the game out of Birmingham's reach in the 67th minute, with Maguire coolly putting Barkhuizen in possession to score in front of an empty goal.

David Meyler hits late equaliser

Substitute David Meyler scored a late equaliser against former club Sunderland to earn Hull a 1-1 draw at the KCOM Stadium.

James Vaughan opened the scoring with his first goal for the Black Cats before Meyler secured a share of the spoils with eight minutes remaining.

Sunderland ended a four-game losing streak in the Sky Bet Championship while Hull have now gone three games without a win.

The hosts began reasonably brightly before becoming more subdued as the first half wore on.

Markus Henriksen had an opening after seven minutes but his low effort across goal was beaten away by Sunderland goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter, denying Nouha Dicko the chance to poke home.

Sunderland gradually gained a foothold and their first attempt came when Didier Ndong tried a speculative 35-yard effort with his left foot in the 16th minute.

Moments later they were ahead when Callum McManaman's cross was nodded home at the back post by an unmarked Vaughan.

The former Everton man was booked for removing the corner flag in celebration but the 29-year-old was happy enough to have notched his first goal for the club in his 10th appearance.

He could have added a second on the half-hour mark but for a good save from Allan McGregor as Sunderland began to grow in confidence.

The best Hull could muster for the remainder of the first half was a Sebastian Larsson free-kick which deflected off one of his team-mates and out for a goal kick.

Meyler and Jon Toral were brought on by Hull boss Leonid Slutsky at the start of the second half and the impact was a much faster tempo.

The Tigers almost equalised after 53 minutes when Ola Aina's superb cross found Kamil Grosicki at the back post but his header was brilliantly tipped wide by Ruiter.

Toral headed another fine Aina cross wide on the hour mark as Hull continued to press for a way back into the match.

Sunderland still posed a threat on the break, as McManaman proved with a weaving run and left-footed shot which was beaten away by McGregor. Vaughan's attempt on the rebound hit a cluster of Hull defenders.

The Tigers brought on former Sunderland striker Fraizer Campbell and his first meaningful bit of action saw him curl a 25-yard shot over the bar after 73 minutes.

Campbell also headed over from close range before teeing up Meyler with eight minutes remaining.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder drew the hosts level with a deflected finish from 12 yards which beat Ruiter at his near post.

Meyler tested the palms of Ruiter again with two minutes left as Hull hunted down a winner but Sunderland somehow kept them at bay.

Liam Kelly on target for Reading

Brentford's search for their first Sky Bet Championship win of the season continued as Reading came from behind to clinch a 1-1 draw at Griffin Park.

Josh Clarke broke the deadlock for the Bees after 16 minutes, exchanging passes with Neal Maupay on the edge of the box before smashing a rising drive into the roof of the net.

But Liam Kelly levelled from the spot midway through the second half after a hotly-contested penalty decision. Former Brentford loanee Liam Moore went to ground in the box, with Rico Henry picking up a yellow card for the challenge.

Brentford had all the possession and looked the side more likely to take maximum points with Romaine Sawyers and Ryan Woods pulling the strings, but they lacked any cutting edge in the box.

And once again Dean Smith's side were left to rue a series of missed chances either side of the break to record their first league win since April.

Bees skipper John Egan should have put the hosts ahead minutes before the opener, but his header from a Florian Jozefzoon free-kick lacked conviction.

The goal came, and then Kamohelo Mokotjo almost stretched the Londoners' lead after 21 minutes when Ollie Watkins' clever backheel played him in, but Vito Mannone was equal to his dipping 20-yard drive.

Brentford were winning most of the second balls in midfield, but the more direct Royals were always a threat on the break.

Watkins saw an angled drive blocked by a sea of legs on the half hour before Reading went close to gaining a foothold in the game just before the break, the unmarked Paul McShane heading Kelly's free-kick wide at the far post.

Reading started brightly after the break and substitute Roy Beerens forced a superb full-stretch save from Dan Bentley.

Brentford wingers Clarke and Jozefzoon both looked lively going forward but lacked any real quality in the final third and both shot tamely wide when well placed.

Reading's equaliser was almost followed by a sucker-punch. Brentford surged forward but luck was against them, with Clarke's deflected drive drifting narrowly over the bar.

Bees centre-back Andreas Bjelland then thought he had put the hosts ahead, but instead he saw three efforts blocked on the line by the legs of desperate Reading defenders.

Deep into injury time the game could have gone either way, firstly with Nico Yennaris' low cross eluding everyone in the visitors' box.

From the goal kick Reading swept up the other end and Sone Aluko could have stung Dean Smith's side, but his 30-yard strike skidded to safety off the top of the bar.

Small consolation for Brentford saw them move above Birmingham towards the foot of the table.

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