Match report: Preston 1 Norwich City 3
PUBLISHED: 16:58 17 April 2017 | UPDATED: 21:33 17 April 2017
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James Maddison struck on his Norwich City league debut to seal a first Championship away victory since February 4.
Maddison coolly rolled Steven Naismith’s pass underneath Preston keeper Chris Maxwell in stoppage time, after Graham Dorrans and Josh Murphy had notched prior to the interval. Tommy Spurr did pull a goal back for the hosts in the second half, and Norwich’s defensive vulnerability was tested again, until Maddison’s match-clinching intervention.
Alan Irvine made five changes from the side that lost 3-1 on Good Friday against Fulham. Timm Klose was ruled out through knee injury and the likes of Alex Tettey and Wes Hoolahan were also absent for the second game in three days. Dorrans came back in for his first start since injuring his ankle at Aston Villa. Josh Murphy replaced his brother and Naismith was also included. Cameron Jerome was preferred to Nelson Oliveira up top.
Preston were without captain Tom Clarke, who damaged his Achilles at Huddersfield on Good Friday.
Callum Robinson robbed Dorrans in midfield to set up Aiden McGeady early on but John Ruddy kicked away his shot before McGeady’s follow up spiralled off Russell Martin for a home corner.
Preston suffered an injury blow when Gregg Cunningham was substituted after 10 minutes with leg injury that saw him stretchered away.
Alex Pritchard picked out the late-arriving Naismith but the Scottish international was a touch ahead of the delivery and headed over the top of Maxwell’s goal.
The midfielder then worked a corner routine with Dorrans, who skied over on the half-volley 12 yards out.
Jerome’s bicycle kick drifted straight to Maxwell midway through the start of a rather sedate affair at Deepdale.
Dorrans, however, sparked the game into life when his deflected shot deceived Maxwell in the 28th minute, following tidy interplay from Pritchard and Naismith to tee up the midfielder to lash a low shot from 22 yards.
Maxwell then had to beat away Pritchard’s angled effort with the Canaries carrying the greater attacking threat.
City profited on the counter to add a second when Pritchard triggered a flowing move involving Josh Murphy and the overlapping Mitchell Dijks, finished by Josh Murphy into the bottom right-hand corner from 12 yards.
Ruddy survived a scare in first half stoppage time when he looked beaten by McGeady’s rising shot that cleared his far post, but Pritchard spurned a glorious chance when he burst free at the other end but his effort struck the legs of Maxwell.
Paul Gallagher whipped a free kick a yard wide of Ruddy’s left-hand post in the 47th minute. Martin hooked a close range effort over from Pritchard’s corner at the other end before Josh Murphy lead the counter to cut inside and hit a looping deflected shot just over the bar.
Gallagher tried again from range with the same outcome as the Lilywhites looked for a lifeline. The home skipper duly delivered in the 67th minute when his free kick drifted over Jonny Howson to the unmarked Spurr who headed past Ruddy from 16 yards.
Naismith then foiled Jordan Hugill with a last-ditch tackle at the far post before the unmarked Paul Huntington miscued a close range header wide from the corner.
McGeady squared up Ryan Bennett but lashed into the side netting with the hosts continuing to pin Norwich back.
Irvine responded with a Norwich league debut for Maddison, who along with Oliveira, replaced Pritchard and Jerome respectively.
Howson tested Maxwell who shovelled his angled shot behind before the keeper kicked away Maddison’s low cross.
Hugill lashed a volley wide in the 88th minute from Andy Boyle’s raking diagonal ball that cleared Norwich’s centre backs.
Oliveira tried his luck at the other end but Maxwell resisted again at his near post. Maddison sealed the win when he rolled Naismith’s pass underneath Maxwell deep in stoppage time to reward the 546 travelling fans with a rare away success this season.
• Preston: Maxwell, Vermijl (Horgan 62), Huntington, Boyle, Cunningham (Spurr 10), Barkhuizen, Gallagher, Browne, McGeady, Robinson (Johnson 82), Hugill. Subs: (not used): Hudson, Makienok, May, Beckford.
• Goal: Spurr (67)
• Norwich: Ruddy, Pinto, Martin, Bennett, Dijks, Howson, Dorrans, Josh Murphy, Naismith, Pritchard (Maddison 79), Jerome (Oliveira 79). Subs: (not used): McGovern (GK), Whittaker, Wildschut, Jacob Murphy, Godfrey.
• Booking: Josh Murphy (foul on Horgan, 81)
• Goals: Dorrans (28), Josh Murphy (40), Maddison (90+2)
• Time added on: 2 minutes / 3 minutes
• Referee: James Adcock (Notts)
• Attendance: 11,373 (546 away fans)