Aleksandar Mitrovic scores twice as Newcastle beat Preston at Deepdale
A second-half double from Aleksandar Mitrovic helped Sky Bet Championship leaders Newcastle see off in-form Preston to make it six league wins in a row with a 2-1 victory at Deepdale.
The defeat ended Preston's unbeaten run of six league matches, though the hosts did make it a nervy ending with a late goal from Jermaine Beckford.
It was the second meeting between sides this week after Newcastle hammered Preston 6-0 in the EFL Cup fourth round.
Mitrovic led the line for Newcastle in the absence of the Championship's top scorer Dwight Gayle and had penalty claims waved away after 11 minutes when he tangled with Tom Clarke.
Paul Gallagher forced the first meaningful save of the match on the half-hour mark as his shot from 20 yards was tipped away low to his right by Karl Darlow.
And Preston, looking for a fifth successive home win, continued the pressure two minutes later, as Newcastle skipper Jamaal Lascelles had to take the ball off the toes of Jordan Hugill two yards out, to prevent the Preston striker tapping in.
It was Simon Grayson's side who were still on top as the second half resumed, as the ball fell to Ben Pringle from a corner but the midfielder slashed his effort a few yards wide of the post from 20 yards.
And the hosts would have taken the lead after 52 minutes were it not for the brilliance of Newcastle keeper Darlow, who produced a superb fingertip reaction save to deny Gallagher from eight yards.
It was one-way traffic, and Preston's top-scorer Hugill should have put his side ahead three minutes later, as he beat Darlow to Callum Robinson's cross but failed to connect with the header.
Against the run of play, Mitrovic gave Newcastle the lead after 59 minutes
Matt Ritchie's cross-field ball was not cut out by Bailey Wright and it fell to the Serbia striker who calmly slotted past Chris Maxwell from 12 yards.
Preston, who had taken 17 points from their previous 24 on offer, had strong shouts for a penalty waved away after 70 minutes as Ciaran Clark barged into the back of Robinson.
But a minute later Newcastle doubled their advantage
DeAndre Yedlin's cross found Mitrovic, whose initial header was well saved by Maxwell, but the ball dropped down for the striker to slide in from a yard out.
Preston should have pulled one back five minutes from time as Ben Pearson's shot rebounded to Clarke, who somehow missed the target with the goal gaping.
The hosts did grab themselves a lifeline on 90 minutes as substitute Beckford turned home Greg Cunningham's cross at the near post.
And Marnick Vermijl so nearly snatched a point as his header struck the post deep into second-half stoppage time.
Source : PA