Alex Neil may be under pressure at Preston North End right now, but his team are fighting for him as they showed at Deepdale under the lights last night.
The Lilywhites had suffered back-to-back away defeats to Luton Town and Barnsley after previously showing strong form on the road, so a good result against an injury-hit Bristol City was pivotal.
The Robins hadn’t beaten North End since the opening day of the 2010/11 season, and their bad luck continued on their trip to Lancashire.
Scott Sinclair won a contentious penalty in the first half after going down under Taylor Moore’s challenge, which Daniel Johnson converted with the utmost confidence.
City sprung into life in the second half as Dean Holden changed the formation and upped the pressure, and could’ve been playing against 10 men had Darnell Fisher received a second yellow card for a foul on Semenyo.
But alas it was not to be, as North End stopper Declan Rudd made some fine saves in the final stages of the game to secure back-to-back home wins and clean sheets at home for Preston for the first time since 2017.
Rudd gained plaudits for his performance and he was unlucky to not get the man of the match award – that was reserved for Paul Gallagher.
The 36-year-old is a rotational player nowadays at North End and is coaching with the under-16’s as his playing career comes to its latter stages, but with injuries to Ben Pearson, Ryan Ledson and Brad Potts he’s found himself in the first team again.
And he stood out as a driving force in the win last night, playing the key pass to Sinclair that led to the penalty decision and he dictated the tempo in-front of the back four.
Preston fans were lauding ‘Gally’ on Twitter following the win, check out some of the best responses below.
Class as always, club legend!
— James Miley (@JamesMiley1) December 18, 2020
Like fine wine.
— jack 👁️⃤ #FreeBayliss (@pnefctucker) December 18, 2020
— Andrew Swarbrick (@AndrewSwarbrick) December 18, 2020
Sir Paul Gallagher 😍
— Adam (@Browny___) December 18, 2020
Be a sad day when Paul Gallagher retires. Top Man, PNE legend
— Dom (@dom_33) December 18, 2020
— Steve O (@PNEste25) December 19, 2020
Gallagher superb tonight…..rolling back the years. #pnefc
— Liam Fell (@liamfell2010) December 18, 2020
Thought Gally was superb tonight. Always showing for the ball and looking for the forward pass. Knew when to speed it up & slow it down.
— Ben HD (@PNEBenHD) December 18, 2020