Championship
Preston2Birmingham1

Preston North End 2-1 Birmingham City

Callum Robinson
Preston goalscorer Callum Robinson began his career with Aston Villa, Birmingham's great rivals

Preston North End gave their hopes of a late play-off push a boost with victory over Birmingham City, who had Craig Gardner sent off with 10 minutes to go.

Blues, who have won once in 13 games under Gianfranco Zola, fell behind when an unmarked Callum Robinson headed in.

Che Adams levelled with a fierce, bouncing strike after half-time.

But Jordan Hugill tapped in from Daryl Horgan's square ball to win it, moments before Blues captain Gardner was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Preston climb to 10th, seven points below the play-off places, while Birmingham slipped to 14th, a further eight points behind.

Blues, without injured quartet Clayton Donaldson, Michael Morrison, Ryan Shotton and Jacques Maghoma, and suspended midfielder David Davis, have now lost five of their seven away games since Zola's arrival on 14 December, conceding 14 goals on their travels in that time.

Gardner - captaining Birmingham for the first time - was dismissed for a late tackle on Greg Cunningham just moments after Hugill's winning goal, having been booked earlier in the second half for a foul on Horgan.

After Preston's Hugill was denied by a brilliant save from Tomasz Kuszczak early on, Robinson had space to head in the opener from close range when Aiden McGeady was given time to cross from the left wing.

Zola's side had hope when Adams latched on to Lukas Jutkiewicz's fine knock-down to lash in from outside the area with his left foot, netting for the first time since November, but Hugill evaded the Birmingham defence to earn Preston a second successive win.

Preston manager Simon Grayson:

"We dominated from start to finish, created some real good chances and there was some outstanding individual performances.

"We just needed a couple more goals to warrant that first-half performance.

"You always know if you don't take those chances, the opposition are going to have some spell in the game.

"We've shown a lot of character to stay in a game in the second half; we dug in and took our chances when they came along."

Birmingham boss Gianfranco Zola:

"I don't want to talk about luck any more, I'm fed up of using that. The reason we keep losing games like this is not because we are unlucky, at the moment we are very poor, simple as that.

"I'm the first person responsible, we can do much better than this. We had total control in the second half. We were just waiting to score.

"The players are very edgy at the moment, the confidence is not there. I am sorry, I am very frustrated at the moment.

"Now is the moment we stop talking and just start acting a little better than we are at the minute."

Line-ups

Preston

  • 22Maxwell
  • 6Browning
  • 5Clarke
  • 23Huntington
  • 3Cunningham
  • 7Horgan
  • 8Browne
  • 4PearsonBooked at 45mins
  • 14McGeadySubstituted forJohnsonat 85'minutes
  • 37RobinsonBooked at 52minsSubstituted forBarkhuizenat 63'minutes
  • 25HugillSubstituted forMakienokat 90+4'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Lindegaard
  • 9Makienok
  • 10Beckford
  • 11Johnson
  • 21May
  • 24Boyle
  • 29Barkhuizen

Birmingham

  • 29Kuszczak
  • 2Nsue
  • 31Bielik
  • 3Grounds
  • 33KeitaSubstituted forStewartat 83'minutes
  • 6KieftenbeldBooked at 40mins
  • 8GleesonSubstituted forSinclairat 89'minutes
  • 21Frei KoyunluBooked at 45minsSubstituted forCogleyat 45'minutes
  • 12GardnerBooked at 80mins
  • 14AdamsBooked at 58mins
  • 15Jutkiewicz

Substitutes

  • 1Legzdins
  • 4Robinson
  • 7Tesche
  • 20Stewart
  • 25Cogley
  • 30O'Keefe
  • 48Sinclair
Referee:
Tim Robinson
Attendance:
10,233

Match Stats

Home TeamPrestonAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home14
Away11
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home4
Away3
Fouls
Home12
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Preston North End 2, Birmingham City 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Preston North End 2, Birmingham City 1.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Simon Makienok replaces Jordan Hugill.

Foul by Jonathan Grounds (Birmingham City).

Jordan Hugill (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nsue.

Attempt missed. Daryl Horgan (Preston North End) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Daniel Johnson.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Jerome Sinclair replaces Stephen Gleeson.

Attempt missed. Jordan Hugill (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt blocked. Jordan Hugill (Preston North End) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tom Barkhuizen.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Daniel Johnson replaces Aiden McGeady.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Greg Stewart replaces Cheick Keita.

Hand ball by Jordan Hugill (Preston North End).

Dismissal

Second yellow card to Craig Gardner (Birmingham City) for a bad foul.

Foul by Craig Gardner (Birmingham City).

Greg Cunningham (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Preston North End 2, Birmingham City 1. Jordan Hugill (Preston North End) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Daryl Horgan.

Attempt saved. Craig Gardner (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Che Adams (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Tom Clarke (Preston North End).

Attempt blocked. Craig Gardner (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Tyias Browning.

Attempt missed. Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt blocked. Che Adams (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Cheick Keita.

Foul by Che Adams (Birmingham City).

Tom Clarke (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Aiden McGeady (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Jordan Hugill with a headed pass.

Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jordan Hugill (Preston North End).

Che Adams (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tom Clarke (Preston North End).

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Tom Barkhuizen replaces Callum Robinson.

Cheick Keita (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Callum Robinson (Preston North End).

Attempt missed. Cheick Keita (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Maikel Kieftenbeld with a cross.

Booking

Che Adams (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card.

Offside, Birmingham City. Stephen Gleeson tries a through ball, but Che Adams is caught offside.

Booking

Craig Gardner (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Craig Gardner (Birmingham City).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Newcastle31213760253566
2Brighton31198452262665
3Huddersfield3119484235761
4Reading3218684741660
5Leeds321831144331157
6Sheff Wed31167839291055
7Norwich321561157451251
8Fulham311310852371549
9Barnsley32147115145649
10Preston32139104440448
11Derby31138103629747
12Cardiff32126144047-742
13Ipswich321010123340-740
14Birmingham321010123344-1140
15Brentford31107144445-137
16Aston Villa31812113036-636
17Nottm Forest32106164556-1136
18Wolves3198143842-435
19QPR3197153044-1434
20Bristol City3195174246-432
21Burton3187163145-1431
22Wigan3178162938-929
23Blackburn3178163649-1329
24Rotherham3245233068-3817
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