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Preston North End 0 - 4 Bristol City

by Jamie Allen. Published Sat 05 Feb 2011 21:11
David Clarkson grabbed a brace in the 4 - 0 away win
David Clarkson grabbed a brace in the 4 - 0 away win

It was a ruthless performance from Bristol City as two goals from David Clarkson helped them secure a 4 – 0 away win against rock bottom Preston North End at Deepdale.

It was a bizarre game as North End dominated the first half, but found themselves trailing 1 – 0 at the interval after an early Andy Keogh goal. David Clarkson then struck twice in the space of eight second half minutes before substitute Brett Pitman added a fourth late on to heap more misery on North End. However, the match was marred by a serious ankle injury to North End full back Conor McLaughlin.

Phil Brown opted for a three man pronged attack with Leon Clarke, Nathan Ellington and debutant Eddie Johnson, whereas Keith Millen handed Martyn Woolford his debut on the wing.

It was a lively start from both teams. North End’s on loan Fulham striker Eddie Johnson broke from deep played a one-two with Ellington before blazing his effort over the crossbar.

Bristol City then threatened themselves as striker Clarkson equally hit a tame effort over the bar, however that was to change on 6 minutes.

A route one ball from defender Caulker set Clarkson free and he shrugged off the challenge of St. Ledger before dinking the ball past the on rushing Lonergan.

That goal seemed to wake the home side up and North End replied instantly with a host of chances. Firstly, Billy Jones cut in from the left but dragged his effort just wide.

Jones was involved again on 19 minutes, as he crossed for Darel Russel who failed to connect properly.

The lively Johnson then found Ellington in the box who turned his man and unleashed a low drive that veteran David James did well to tip round the post.

On 25 minutes an in swinging free kick from Jones was met by the towering Leon Cort, but he couldn’t hit the target.

North End then threatened again on the half hour mark. A good interchange between midfielders Ashbee and Russell allowed Ellington to cut inside from the left and unleash another strike that James tipped round the post.

A minute later a quick North End free kick let in Barton, but the experienced James was there yet again.

Preston continued to push forward in search for their equaliser, but were stopped in their tracks on the stroke of half time as defender Conor McLaughlin suffered a terrible ankle break after seeming to land awkwardly from a challenge with Woolford. He was replaced by Wayne Brown.

On the stroke of half time, Barton’s shot was parried by James and Clarke looked destined to tap in, only for a last ditch Liam Fontaine challenge to deny him. North End could count themselves unlucky as they went into the break trailing.

Into the second half and striker Brett Pitman replaced Adomah for the away side, but again it was North End who created the first chance of the half.

A corner from the left was met by the head of Ellington, but McAllister was there to save the day for Bristol City clearing off the line.

Woolford then spurned a great chance to double City’s lead as he skied over after great work from McAllister and substitute Pitman. That was to be a warning for Preston, as the Robins did double their lead on 57 minutes.

Pitman again became provider as he was released down the left and his looping cross to the back post was met by the head of Clarkson who dually obliged.

It was 3 – 0 eight minutes later. A route one free kick from David James found Keogh who beat Brown to the ball and fired a shot that was palmed away by Lonergan, but Clarkson was there again to tap in and grab his second of the game.

North End were shell shocked and the game was sawn up in the 86th minute.

Debutant Woolford broke forward and played in the impressive Pitman who lashed the ball past Lonergan to complete the 4 – 0 rout.

After the game, North End manager Phil Brown admitted his side were unfortunate to be trailing at the break:

“The front three caused them a lot of problems after that but having played as well as we did in the first half to find ourselves 1-0 down at the break was unusual. We were worthy to be 3-1 or 4-1 up but we came out and gave a soft performance in the second half."

Brown also shed light on McLaughlin’s horror injury:

"Conor has fractured his fibula and dislocated his ankle as well and it is the dislocation that is the complicating factor"



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