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Preston 2 – 0 Coventry

Daniel Johnson and Sean Maguire were on track as Preston clinched a 2-0 Championship win to extend his championship run to three matches in their final game of the year against Coventry.

The Sky Blues, winless at Deepdale since the turn of the century, entered the empty old stadium on one of the coldest nights of the year.

Not since 2013, Coventry had not beaten Preston at home or away and they had started badly in their attempt to break the record.

Preston sealed a 2-0 home win over Coventry

Tom Barkhuizen had a golden opportunity to find an oncoming colleague in the opening minutes but failed to run.

It’s no surprise that it was Johnson who opened the scoring, burying an effort at close range.

Barkhuizen stole a Ben Sheaf trailing into the penalty area and squared the ball to Johnson, who was right with work to be done.

Gustavo Hamer could have equalized moments later, but he shuffled his shot from the penalty spot straight to Declan Rudd.

Minority midfielder Hamer seemed most likely to score or create something for the visitors. Stocky and sliding on the ball, his knack for moving away from close markers created space for his teammates around him.

The fact that his influence waned as the game progressed was potentially a reason Coventry went a virgin.

But they started the second half with intention. Rudd had to be precise to rule out a dangerous cross from Fankaty Dabo. Callum O’Hare then walked over to Ryan Giles’ cross.

But it was Preston who extended his lead as a Paul Gallagher free kick from the right caused chaos in City’s six-yard box.

After a few seconds of blocked shots, blocked clearances and an old-fashioned scramble, Maguire’s kick proved to be decisive.

The home side, which had won three of their last five home games, without ever looking unstoppable or expansive, was doing the job efficiently.

The Sky Blues applied pressure in the final quarter of an hour, winning several corners but with only a header from Leo Ostigard over the crossbar to show.

Down the wings was the plan of the second half of Coventry.

Dabo and his replacement Sam McCallum whipped balls at every opportunity, but each was dealt with by Preston’s strong defense commanded by the impressive Rudd.

Hamer tested Rudd again from a distance and the big plug pared well protecting his team’s clean sheet.

But in the end, Coventry will regret not creating enough clear chances and allowing Preston to profit from his mistakes.

On a night when the temperatures dropped below freezing, it was Preston who left his fans at home feeling warm as they earned the maximum points.

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