Rotherham United kept up their amazing league form as they took a vital three points on the road against Preston North End.
One of the quickest goals of the season saw the visitors take the lead, before surviving an absolute barrage on their goal by Preston for the rest of the half.
But Paul Warne’s men doubled the lead in the second half and despite getting a goal back midway through the second 45, they couldn’t find another goal.
There was a quite incredible start at Deepdale as after just 17 seconds, the Millers took the lead.
Freddie Ladapo got a shot away in the box that looked like it was going wide, but Joe Rafferty turned the ball with his head beyond Daniel Iversen in the Preston goal to make it 1-0 to the away side.
It was an unusually quick start and it’s rare that you see teams attack straight from kick off, but Rotherham took advantage, but for the rest of the half it was all PNE.
Everton loanee Anthony Gordon was impressing on his debut, whipping in a free kick on 13 minutes that Liam Lindsay couldn’t put away, and not long after he whipped another dead-ball situation past the post of Viktor Johansson.
North End then had a flurry of close calls to try and equalise. First on 32 minutes Ched Evans fluffed his lines from close range after Tom Barkhuizen’s creative wing-play, and then Gordon curled an effort from inside the 18-yard box over Johansson’s bar.
Evans then had another fantastic chance on 35 minutes, heading Rafferty’s teasing cross towards goal but Johansson pulled off a fantastic stop, and moments later the Swede was at it again to deny Barkhuizen from a few yards out after the speedster broke the Millers’ offside trap.
After Johansson recovered from Evans’ flailing boot on the follow-up, North End kept on attacking and had another glorious chance on the stroke of half time to equalise, as Ben Whiteman curled a free-kick beyond the goalkeeper, but it hit the inside of the post, struck Johansson in the back and trickled out for a corner.
North End again started the second half the better but they were hit with a real sucker punch on 55 minutes, as some good interplay between Ladapo and Lewis Wing saw the latter tee up Ben Wiles in the box, and he fired it beyond Iversen from close range, the ball beyond the Danish stopper before he could even try and dive for it.
The Millers could easily have made it three minutes later, as Wiles went through on goal after being supplied by Wing, but his dink over Iversen – who was not too committed to come out for the ball – trickled wide.
Minutes later, Preston finally put the ball in the back of the net. Faultless until now, Johansson finally blundered as he dropped a deep cross into the path of Ched Evans, who fired home from close range to halve the deficit with 25 minutes to play.
That was as good as it got though for Preston. Alex Neil made a host of changes following the goal, bringing on the likes of Scott Sinclair and Daniel Johnson – the former had a shot in the back of the net but he was flagged for offside.
North End lacked creativity though in the final minutes and the Millers comfortably held on for another three points on the road.
FULL TIME: Preston North End 1 – 2 Rotherham United