Cardiff lose 2-0 at play-off chasing Preston
Preston kept their slim play-off hopes alive as goals from Tom Cannon and Ched Evans earned them a 2-0 win over strugglers Cardiff in a feisty affair at Deepdale.
Cannon opened the scoring with a blistering second-half strike and Evans sealed the points at the death after Cardiff goalkeeper Jak Alnwick was sent off to extend the Lilywhites’ unbeaten run to six games
Kion Etete and Jaden Philogene-Bidace went close for Cardiff but they remain six points above the relegation zone and saw a goalkeeper sent off in stoppage time for the second week running.
Ben Woodburn and Cannon were brought in for the hosts while the visitors made four changes, including one between the sticks as Alnwick deputised for the suspended Ryan Allsop.
Preston suffered an early scare when goalkeeper Freddie Woodman went down after a full-blooded challenge with Etete in a sign of the battles to come, though he carried on after treatment.
Ben Whiteman was first to be booked 14 minutes in after he fouled Etete to stop a promising counter-attack down the left.
Chances were at a premium in the opening half-hour, with Troy Parrott dancing around the box before producing a limp shot which did not trouble Alnwick.
Etete, who was a thorn in the Lilywhites’ side all afternoon, flashed a potent shot wide on 39 minutes from outside the area, the best of the visitors’ chances in the first half.
Cardiff’s Mark McGuinness next to have his name taken 40 minutes in after bringing down Jordan Storey as he surged down the right and Preston improved as the first half drew to a close, with Parrott nearly curling a precise finish into the corner while Alvaro Fernandez and Bambo Diaby both went close.
The second half was more lively and Cannon should have scored from point-bank range after Fernandez found him in the box, but he prodded a tame shot straight at the oncoming Alnwick.
In riposte, just a few minutes later, Philogene-Bidace nearly arrowed a strike into the top corner but just missed the goal.
Cardiff grew into the game and Kaba unleashed a venomous volley from Ryan Wintle’s pass, demanding a full-stretch save from Woodman.
But Cannon finally broke the deadlock for the hosts with a ferocious strike after 67 minutes, blasting it into the roof of the net following an incisive through ball by Greg Cunningham.
Philogene-Bidace could have restored parity late on but fired wide and Cardiff failed to carve many more chances.
In stoppage time, Alnwick’s challenge on Cannon saw him hastily dismissed, with substitute Ched Evans later tapping in after a shot has been saved by substitute goalkeeper Rohan Luthra.
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