Alex Neil made two changes to the side that were defeated on Good Friday at Sheffield Wednesday. Greg Cunningham returned at left back to captain the side but rather bewildering Chris Maxwell repaced Declan Rudd in goal.
North End dominated the first half according to the statistics. The game resembled much of the season. A lot of possession but no punch up front and the lack of quality in the final thrd is something that needs to be addressed.
Preston's best chance came when Alan Browne was bundled over in the box by Wisdom. The referee gave a penalty and Browne stepped up to take the spot kick. It went horribly wrong as Browne missed the lft hand post by some margin.
The statistics will tell you that Preston had numerous attempts at target in the first period but in reality there was the usual lack of cutting edge which meant Preston's realistic chances were severely limited.
Derby were on a poor run and looked a side who were struggling. Browne conceded a free kick early in the second half and Lawrence stepped up to take the set piece from around 25 yards out.
Lawrence curled the ball around the wall towards the keeper. Maxwell flapped and should ave saved but the ball went past him as he stretched out. There's no way to sugar coat it but Maxwell had ultimate responsibility to save the free kick.
North End pressed for an equaliser but did not look like coming near. Derby forced one decent save from Maxwell but held out for the single goal victory whch gives them breathing space in the hunt for a top six place.
Other results meant Preston still only remain three points of 6th place but ultimately the Easter performances confirmed that Preston are a team who are destined for another mid-table finish.
It would take an incredible turn of form for Preston to make a charge at the top six with other teams in a more favourable position. The end of season is turning out to be the same as the last two seasons which will be concerning for all at Deepdale.