Preston North End 2 West Bromwich Albion 3

Preston North End 2 West Bromwich Albion 3

Dave Seddons Preston North End verdict: Sieve of a defence is the root of the problem

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Preston’s Andrew Hughes then pulled one back, but Darren Moore’s in-form West Brom were back in the lead just two minutes later after a Ben Davies own goal. Then, with two minutes of normal time remaining Gayle whipped a fantastic long-range free-kick past Chris Maxwell in the Preston net for his sixth league goal of the season so far.

West Brom fans love Dwight Gayle even more after stunning free-kick vs Preston

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Wow – pundit reveals West Brom amazement and makes this prediction

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West Brom went to the top of the Championship table on Saturday after beating Preston North End 3-2, and fans of the Baggies on Twitter were once again delighted with Dwight Gayle after he netted a brilliant free-kick to secure the three points.

Its nothing serious Darren Moore on Matty Phillips, Preston and his predatory strikers

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West Brom fans react to Tyrone Mears display at Preston

The manager, the owner, the advisor, formations and tactics have all come under scrutiny in response to what has been a dreadful first two months of the season.

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Whatever direction your accusing finger is pointed in, the common factor is that PNE are heading into October with a paltry five points from 10 league outings.

Bearing in mind three of those were gathered on the opening afternoon, things have headed south alarmingly.

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Saturdays defeat to West Bromwich Albion was their fourth league reverse on the bounce and brought a poor September to a finish.

Do you take some comfort from the fact that Alex Neils men matched their visitors for parts of the game, only for a drop in concentration and a bit of luck to go against them?

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Or is it rather alarming that the Lilywhites have not been terrible this season but still find themselves propping up the rest?

Ben Davies unfortunate own goal put the visitors back in front before Dwight Gayles free-kick all but made sure of the points, Alan Browne scoring a late consolation for North End.

Influential West Brom star calls for Baggies to maintain good form after topping table

They were better against Albion than they had been when beaten by Reading, Leeds and Sheffield United over the last fortnight.

But it was still not enough to avoid another defeat and a fragile confidence is there to see, the by-product of a poor run of results.

West Broms second came via a large slice of luck, Davies getting his head on Craig Dawsons cross only for it to loop over Chris Maxwell and in.

For 45 minutes they were solid, largely keeping at arms length a Baggies side who had arrived from the Midlands scoring at will.

Chris Maxwell had to come to the rescue twice with good saves but North End were not without their chances either, Ryan Ledson striking the post with the scoreline goalless.

They chased an equaliser and got one, only to concede in the most unfortunate of circumstances just two minutes later.

A late third Albion goal was to effectively clinch the win for Albion, an injury-time header from Alan Browne too late in the day to affect the result.

The debate over whether enough money has been invested in the squad is one which will continue to run for some time – one look at the table will suggest not and add weight to the argument of those who feel North End were somewhat left behind in the transfer market over the summer.

100 goals…but will concede 60 – is this a West Brom curse?

But looking at this from purely a football point of view and putting cash issues to one side, it is not difficult to see where things are going wrong.

Scoring at the other end has not been a difficultly, with Neils men finding the net twice in three of the games – the 3-0 loss at Leeds was the exception.

Jordan Storey was given his first league start, with Paul Huntington and Ben Davies for company in the middle.

That could not be in any way attributed to the system but was indicative of the bad luck teams tend to have when stuck on runs like this.

We have become accustomed to seeing Robinson playing centrally, however for Barker this was something new.

The loanee was not able to have an impact on the game like he had done from a wide role against Middlesbrough.

Championship round-up: West Brom win to go top after Middlesbrough are held

North End lost Robinsons services to a jarred knee early in the second half, the main threat taken away.

West Brom set apart by Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle

The fact they managed to still score twice was therefore commendable, although the second was so late in the day that it mattered little.

Mindful that Albion had scored 22 league goals, Neil went for a disciplined shape to Prestons play.

They probably shaded the first half in terms of moving the ball better, the visitors edging the chance count.

Maxwells save to tip over Kyle Bartleys header from four yards early in the contest was excellent, the block with his legs to deny Harvey Barnes none too shabby either.

Preston North End 2 West Bromwich Albion 3 – News

The visitors went ahead in the 48th minute, with Jake Livermore allowed to move unchallenged for 10 yards down the right before sending over a cross. RODRIGUEZ stole in front of Storey to send a header past Maxwell.

Preston North End manager Alex Neil stands by his players following their Deepdale defeat against West Bromwich Albion

Back came PNE to level in the 71st minute, a foul on Ben Pearson seeing them awarded a free-kick 20 yards out.

It was taken left-footed by HUGHES, with the Welshman keeping it low and finding the far bottom corner.

GAYLE found the net with a free-kick from 25 yards in the 88th minute, sparking a mass exodus from the home stands.

Those who stayed at least saw a second PNE goal, Josh Harrops pass sending fellow sub Louis Moult into the box.

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