Preston v Bristol City
Friday December 18, 20:00
Preston frustrated by midweek defeat
For the first time this season, Preston lost a Championship game from a winning position with a 2-1 defeat suffered at Oakwell on Tuesday night. The Lilywhites conceded two second-half goals after Sean Maguire had given them a lead inside two minutes, heading home after Tykes man Cauley Woodrow had failed to clear Paul Gallagher’s corner.
Emil Riis could have doubled the advantage but saw his shot saved when clear on goal with Daniel Johnson in support. Barnsley were then level after the break when Alex Mowatt curled home from long range. And North End fell behind with 10 minutes to play to the frustration of boss Alex Neil as PNE allowed the hosts to score from a quick free-kick.
North End managed only four attempts at goal across the 90 minutes but Neil still felt his team deserved more from the match, saying: “Our biggest frustration is that we take a 1-0 lead early and then arguably have the best chance of the match. Our second opportunity was the best of the match, we were two versus one but didn’t capitalise on it.”
Bristol City fail to fire at Ashton Gate
Bristol City fell to their fourth Championship defeat in six games in midweek as the Robins failed to fire in a 2-0 loss at Millwall. A reaction was expected from the Robins following a dominant defeat against Rotherham last weekend but Dean Holden‘s outfit managed a sole on-target effort, three strikes at goal and zero corners despite enjoying 68% of the ball.
Millwall went in front after 18 minutes when Tom Bradshaw’s 20-yard strike was deflected beyond City goalkeeper Daniel Bentley. Nahki Wells then went closest to an equaliser when his clever free-kick was brilliantly kept out, but Mason Bennett missed a golden chance to extend Millwall’s lead. The former Derby winner then made no mistake after half-time.
The Robins’ frustration was compounded with the late sending off of Famara Diedhiou, who was introduced off the bench in the 59th minute and received a second yellow card only 20 minutes later. City have now scored just once in four games and Holden will be without Chris Brunt, Jamie Paterson and Jay Dasilva again on Friday night, as well as six others.
Preston are unbeaten in 14 league meetings with Bristol City since 2011, earning top honours in eight (W8-D6-L0). The past three head-to-heads have all ended in stalemates, and five of the last seven contests between the pair at Deepdale have also seen the spoils shared. The draw is available to support at 3.505/2 on Friday night.
Preston 2.3411/8 were convincing 3-0 winners in their most recent home outing, although Alex Neil’s charges haven’t been at their best as hosts this season. The Lilywhites have W2-D1-L6 here with four of their seven-point haul earned against the bottom-two in the division; PNE have been beaten without scoring in five of their remaining seven Deepdale showdowns.
Like Preston, Bristol City 3.2011/5 have tended to toil when welcoming Championship opposition and flourish when taking to the road. The Robins have collected 16 points on their travels this term with Dean Holden’s charges W5-D1-L1 when playing away against teams outside of the play-off places. Exclude the top-six altogether and City have W9-D1-L4.
Nine of the most recent 11 league match-ups between Preston and Bristol City have delivered successful Both Teams To Score selections and a repeat can be supported at 1.8810/11. Considering the duo have each scored in 13 of their 19 overall Championship encounters, with clean sheets a rarity in recent weeks, it’s a reasonable angle in.
No second-tier side has seen more Over 2.5 Goals winners than PNE – 13/19 (68%) of matches have produced a minimum of three goals – and 5/9 (56%) of Bristol City’s away days have followed suit, suggesting a watchable affair could unfold despite the league-wide numbers painting a dour picture of goal-heavy Championship games in 2020/21.