The Brewers make a fortunate PNE look very ordinary.
Monday 2nd January 2017 – 3pm kick off – Pirelli Stadium – Sky Bet Championship
A cold wintery afternoon greeted almost 1600 travelling faithful who had arrived to watch Preston’s first visit to the Pirelli stadium. The ground belies Burton’s status as a championship club with a capacity of just over 6,000 and 3 sides full of standing spectators.
There was much anticipation among the Preston supporters after the good performance against Sheffield Wednesday only 48 hours earlier. McGeady and Gallagher dropped to the bench, perhaps being rested for the challenge of Arsenal only 6 days later. Tom Clarke moved to right back to make way for Bailey Wright who for many had already played his last game for the Lillywhites.
Burton are an organised, energetic and spirited team who have a game plan and today’s game was no different as Preston struggled to find any rhythm and were unable to string more than a couple of passes together. Neither keeper was troubled in the first half in what turned out to be a throughly average game of football. That was until, Preston did manage to put a couple passes together and Calum Robinson found imself with the ball at his feet approximately 10 yards outside the Burton penalty box. Groans erupted from the away fans as it appeared Robinson had over hit the cross, not for the first time today, but the fans were wrong as Tom Clarke seemed to appear from nowhere and chip the ball, passed the Burton keeper and in off the far lost for a moment of joy in an otherwise
turgid first half.
Gallagher was introduced in the second half and immediately Preston started to play better football and create chances as The away teams quality started to show as Burton pushed for an equaliser.
Jordan Hugill will be disappointed that he did not add to the score with a close range header and half volley. He is still learning his trade at this level, but the championship is an forgiving place as Preston found out on Saturday and fortunately Preston did not suffer from these misses and held out to claim all 3 points.
It is easy to see why Burton have pushed many top teams this season with their combative and organised style, yet ultimately the teams with more quality in front of goal triumph in close matches and thankfully today Tom Clarke was at the back post again on a Monday.
Now for the small matter of Sanchez, Giroud et al…
Burton Albion 0 – 1 Preston North End