League One
Preston1Walsall0

Preston North End 1-0 Walsall

Daniel Johnson
Daniel Johnson has scored twice for Preston since joining on loan from Aston Villa last month

Preston closed the gap on the automatic promotion places with a win over Walsall, their fourth straight League One victory without conceding a goal.

The game's only goal came on 19 minutes when Chris Humphrey got free down the right, pulling back for Daniel Johnson to smash in his second goal in a week.

After the break Paul Gallagher rattled the bar with a long-range drive, before Tom Clarke hit the post with a header.

Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone kept out a corner to secure Preston's victory.

North End finally beat the Saddlers
Walsall had been unbeaten in this season's three previous meetings with Preston. Having won 3-1 at Bescot in September, they earned another two-goal victory in last month's Johnstone's Paint Trophy Area Final first leg against Preston at Deepdale. They then shared a goalless draw in the second leg to reach Wembley for the first time in their 127-year history.

The Lilywhites were out of the blocks quickly, Walsall goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell being forced into smart early saves from Gallagher's volley and Joe Garner's header.

Walsall, who were missing centre-half Paul Downing (thigh strain) and striker Tom Bradshaw (flu), had plenty of possession.

But their eight-game unbeaten away record came to an end, while North End move to within three points of second place with a game in hand.

Walsall manager Dean Smith told BBC WM 95.6:

"I feel aggrieved. The goal that eventually beat us should never have stood. There was a clear foul on Rico Henry in the build-up and now the lad is in hospital awaiting an x-ray after his shoulder popped out.

"We started slowly and were poor on the ball during the first half. It's not like us to take so long to get going, but we improved after the break and controlled it.

"It's disappointing. There were too many five out of ten performances. Not enough seven and eights. But there were positives to take. Romaine Sawyers did well when he came on and showed me how much he wants to be out there playing."

Line-ups

Preston

  • 34Johnstone
  • 5ClarkeSubstituted forWisemanat 56'minutes
  • 23Huntington
  • 6Wright
  • 3Laird
  • 7Humphrey
  • 24Johnson
  • 19Welsh
  • 12Gallagher
  • 14GarnerSubstituted forDaviesat 90+2'minutes
  • 27RobinsonSubstituted forKilkennyat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Wiseman
  • 8Kilkenny
  • 9Davies
  • 16Buchanan
  • 17Reid
  • 21Stuckmann
  • 40Ebanks-Blake

Walsall

  • 1O'Donnell
  • 2Purkiss
  • 4O'Connor
  • 15Chambers
  • 25HenrySubstituted forTaylorat 24'minutes
  • 7Chambers
  • 12Cain
  • 24GrimesSubstituted forSawyersat 60'minutes
  • 21Cook
  • 27FordeSubstituted forBaxendaleat 76'minutes
  • 30Hiwula-Mayifuila

Substitutes

  • 3Taylor
  • 10Sawyers
  • 11Baxendale
  • 13MacGillivray
  • 16Preston
  • 17Flanagan
  • 29Murphy
Referee:
Darren Drysdale
Attendance:
7,779

Match Stats

Home TeamPrestonAway TeamWalsall
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home18
Away8
Shots on Target
Home8
Away2
Corners
Home10
Away3
Fouls
Home8
Away6

Live Text

Match ends, Preston North End 1, Walsall 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Preston North End 1, Walsall 0.

Chris Humphrey (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Chambers (Walsall).

Attempt saved. James O'Connor (Walsall) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Corner, Walsall. Conceded by Scott Wiseman.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Kevin Davies replaces Joe Garner.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Jordan Cook.

Attempt missed. Michael Cain (Walsall) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Jordan Cook (Walsall) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Hand ball by Joe Garner (Preston North End).

Attempt missed. Paul Gallagher (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Neil Kilkenny replaces Callum Robinson.

Attempt missed. Michael Cain (Walsall) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Walsall. James Baxendale replaces Anthony Forde.

Foul by Joe Garner (Preston North End).

James Chambers (Walsall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila (Walsall) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Attempt saved. Callum Robinson (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt saved. Anthony Forde (Walsall) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Joe Garner (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Michael Cain (Walsall).

Foul by Joe Garner (Preston North End).

Adam Chambers (Walsall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Joe Garner (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Joe Garner (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Callum Robinson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James O'Connor (Walsall).

Attempt missed. Joe Garner (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right following a corner.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Jordan Cook.

Substitution

Substitution, Walsall. Romaine Sawyers replaces Ashley Grimes.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Andy Taylor.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Scott Wiseman replaces Tom Clarke because of an injury.

Delay in match Tom Clarke (Preston North End) because of an injury.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by James Chambers.

Tom Clarke (Preston North End) hits the left post with a header from the centre of the box following a corner.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Andy Taylor.

Attempt missed. Paul Gallagher (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is too high.

Paul Gallagher (Preston North End) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bristol City32207561303167
2MK Dons32188666313562
3Swindon32186859352460
4Preston31178647281959
5Sheff Utd3115794536952
6Bradford31129104136545
7Doncaster32129113940-145
8Fleetwood32128123233-144
9Oldham311110104144-343
10Chesterfield32119124444042
11Gillingham32119124649-342
12Port Vale32126144145-442
13Rochdale301251352421041
14Walsall321011113334-141
15Peterborough32125153843-541
16Barnsley32125154248-641
17Scunthorpe31117134347-440
18Notts County31108133339-638
19Crewe32115163255-2338
20Colchester3297163953-1434
21Coventry31712123243-1133
22Crawley3289153456-2233
23Leyton Orient3188154148-732
24Yeovil3278172547-2229
View full League One table

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