REPORT | Preston North End 2 Charlton 1

Despite taking an early lead the Addicks lost 2-1 at Preston North End with the home side scoring either side of half time.

Andre Green netted against his former team to open his account for Charlton but a wonderstrike from Josh Harrop and a trademark header from former Addick Patrick Bauer were enough to secure three points for the Lilywhites. 

Bowyer made one change from the side that drew with West Bromwich Albion last weekend with Jonny Williams returning to the side for his first start since October, in place of Conor Gallagher, recalled from his loan spell during the week by parent club Chelsea. 

Charlton couldn’t have wished for a better start taking a lead in just the fifth minute. The Addicks played some nice football from the back to get the ball to Alfie Doughty on the left wing. The academy graduate sped past his defender to get to the byline and cut a low ball across goal. Green was quickest to react, nipping in front of his defender to prod home at the front post just inside the six-yard box. 

Doughty combined with fellow academy graduate Ben Dempsey for Charlton’s next chance in the sixth minute. The latter’s cross field ball was headed by Doughty against his defender, the ball bounced back to the wing back who saw his right-footed effort blocked away.

Preston’s first sight of goal came in the 18th minute when Harrop’s tame strike from range was stopped by Dillon Phillips.

Daniel Johnson came closer five minutes later when he had time to line up from just inside the area on his favoured left foot. The ball just cleared the crossbar but it was a clear warning for the Addicks and just after the half hour mark Harrop collected in a similar position, again with time to shoot. The former Manchester United man made no mistake picking out the top corner to level the scores.

As the half went on the Addicks continued to cede possession to the Lilywhites centre halves and remained relatively untested, with Phillips smothering a Tom Barkhuizen shot at the second attempt the closest either side got to scoring again in the first half.  

Preston did take the lead shortly into the second half when Bauer rose highest to power a header home from a floated corner from the right. 

The home side had a spell of pressure after goal but as they did at The Valley earlier in the season, once the Lilywhites had the lead they slowed the game down.

Lee Bowyer responded bringing on Albie Morgan, Erhun Oztumer and Tomer Hemed. The changes resulted in a change of shape to a 4-diamond-2 formation and the Addicks began creating chances again.

Josh Davison had an opportunity in the box but couldn’t quite time a difficult left-footed volley in the 72nd minute and shortly after Darren Pratley got in behind the Preston defence. The veteran midfielder fizzed the ball across the penalty area but it somehow deflected behind for a corner kick.

With time running out Preston began to control the tempo of the game again slowing it down cleverly.

Charlton didn’t give up and Pratley headed over from a late Morgan corner but the visitors were unable to find an equaliser. 

Preston North End: Rudd, Fisher, Davies, Browne (C), Harrop (Potts 90), Johnson (Ledson 82), Rafferty, Bauer, Maguire (Nugent 64), Barkhuizen, Sinclair

Subs (not used): Ripley, Clarke, Ledson, Stockley, Huntingdon

Goals: Harrop 31, Bauer 52

Booked: Barzhuizen 62 (kicking the ball away)

Charlton: Phillips; Lockyer, Oshilaja (Morgan 62), Sarr; Matthews, Pratley, Williams (Oztumer 62), Dempsey, Doughty; Green (Hemed 68), Davison

Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Pearce, Purrington

Goal: Green 5

Referee: D Whitestone

Attendance: 12,358 (873 from Charlton)

Read Time: 3 mins