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Wigan Athletic 1-2 Preston North End: Alex Neil's side move into play-offs

Tom Barkhuizen goal
Tom Barkhuizen scored his 10th goal of the season to put Preston in front

Preston North End maintained their Championship promotion push with a narrow victory at Wigan Athletic which stretched their unbeaten run to five games.

Tom Barkhuizen finished a fine team move, slotting in Daniel Johnson's low cross from a few yards out, to give Preston an early lead.

Alex Neil's side had chances to double their advantage before the break, the best of which saw Sean Maguire's header tipped away by David Marshall.

Straight after the restart, Preston did make it 2-0 with another slick passing move, this time the impressive Johnson finishing smartly into the corner after Barkhuizen found him in the box.

The Latics, who are the division's lowest scorers, threatened an unlikely comeback when Chey Dunkley capitalised on some poor defending to poke the ball in from close range.

But they have failed to score more than once in 24 of their 31 Championship fixtures and were unable to grab an equaliser despite piling on the pressure in a fine second-half performance.

Wigan had pulled themselves to within two points of safety following impressive back-to-back victories over Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds.

However, they came up against a classy Preston side who climb back into the play-offs at the expense of Bristol City who lost at home to Birmingham on Friday.

With at least a four-point gap to the teams just outside the play-off places, North End will remain in the top six once all the weekend's fixtures have been completed.

Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook told BBC Radio Manchester:

"I am very disappointed with our performance . It was as flat and poor as it has been for quite some time.

"We didn't have enough players winning individual battles all over the pitch. The game went ahead of us after their second goal.

"You've got to give credit to Preston, I thought they were better than us for long periods of the game and, in my opinion, they deserved the win."

Preston North End boss Alex Neil told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"I thought we probably played in spells. We had some good spells and so did Wigan. What I thought in the first half was in our good spells we were more dangerous than them.

"At half-time we spoke about getting the next goal and make sure we didn't rest on our laurels.

"The month of February is massive and we've started it well and we'll go on with a lot of confidence."

Line-ups

Wigan

  • 1Marshall
  • 2Byrne
  • 21Kipre
  • 22DunkleyBooked at 66mins
  • 33Naismith
  • 12PearceSubstituted forGelhardtat 55'minutes
  • 8EvansSubstituted forJacobsat 55'minutes
  • 5Morsy
  • 20Williams
  • 19MooreSubstituted forGarnerat 81'minutes
  • 9Lowe

Substitutes

  • 11Massey
  • 14Garner
  • 17Jacobs
  • 18Roberts
  • 23Jones
  • 37Balogun
  • 38Gelhardt

Preston

  • 1RuddBooked at 75mins
  • 2FisherBooked at 84mins
  • 21Bauer
  • 6Davies
  • 16HughesSubstituted forClarkeat 72'minutes
  • 4Pearson
  • 8Browne
  • 29Barkhuizen
  • 11Johnson
  • 31SinclairSubstituted forHarropat 70'minutes
  • 24MaguireSubstituted forStockleyat 81'minutesBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 5Clarke
  • 10Harrop
  • 12Gallagher
  • 15Rafferty
  • 20Stockley
  • 25Ripley
  • 35Nugent
Referee:
Darren England
Attendance:
12,439

Match Stats

Home TeamWiganAway TeamPreston
Possession
Home56%
Away44%
Shots
Home13
Away15
Shots on Target
Home4
Away4
Corners
Home11
Away8
Fouls
Home13
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Wigan Athletic 1, Preston North End 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Wigan Athletic 1, Preston North End 2.

Foul by Cedric Kipre (Wigan Athletic).

Darnell Fisher (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Wigan Athletic. Conceded by Ben Pearson.

Booking

Jayden Stockley (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card.

Offside, Preston North End. Darnell Fisher tries a through ball, but Jayden Stockley is caught offside.

Foul by Joe Gelhardt (Wigan Athletic).

Alan Browne (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Josh Harrop.

Attempt saved. Joe Gelhardt (Wigan Athletic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nathan Byrne.

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

Foul by Michael Jacobs (Wigan Athletic).

Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Wigan Athletic. Conceded by Ben Davies.

Attempt blocked. Michael Jacobs (Wigan Athletic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nathan Byrne with a cross.

Booking

Darnell Fisher (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jamal Lowe (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Darnell Fisher (Preston North End).

Substitution

Substitution, Wigan Athletic. Joe Garner replaces Kieffer Moore.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Jayden Stockley replaces Sean Maguire.

Corner, Wigan Athletic. Conceded by Darnell Fisher.

Attempt missed. Kieffer Moore (Wigan Athletic) header from the right side of the six yard box is too high. Assisted by Kal Naismith with a cross.

Attempt missed. Kal Naismith (Wigan Athletic) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

Attempt blocked. Joe Gelhardt (Wigan Athletic) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sam Morsy.

Corner, Wigan Athletic. Conceded by Daniel Johnson.

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

Booking

Declan Rudd (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Michael Jacobs (Wigan Athletic).

Patrick Bauer (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Tom Clarke replaces Andrew Hughes.

Cedric Kipre (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sean Maguire (Preston North End).

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Josh Harrop replaces Scott Sinclair.

Foul by Kieffer Moore (Wigan Athletic).

Patrick Bauer (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Booking

Cheyenne Dunkley (Wigan Athletic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Cheyenne Dunkley (Wigan Athletic).

Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Patrick Bauer (Preston North End).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1West Brom301511453332056
2Leeds31167846291755
3Fulham31167846321455
4Nottm Forest31159743301354
5Brentford311651052252753
6Preston3114894536950
7Bristol City3114894543250
8Cardiff31111374343046
9Swansea31121093737046
10Millwall30111273835345
11Sheff Wed31128114134744
12Blackburn31128114338544
13Derby311110103841-343
14Hull31117134344-140
15Birmingham31117134048-840
16Reading31109123735239
17QPR31115154756-938
18Middlesbrough31812113240-836
19Huddersfield3198143748-1135
20Stoke31104173947-834
21Charlton3189144045-533
22Wigan3178162946-1729
23Barnsley31510163757-2025
24Luton3173213766-2924
View full Championship table

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