Dec 302017

LONDON: Tom Clarke’s lastminute winner gave him a dream return from an Achilles tendon injury and Preston North End a 1-0 win over a Cardiff City side that slid to a third successive defeat in England’s Championship on Friday. Clarke’s goal at the end of a turgid encounter sees Alex Neil’s Preston rise to seventh spot in England’s second tier while Cardiff missed a chance to reclaim second spot and could be overhauled for third should Derby County beat Ipswich Town on Saturday. Leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers — who have an eight-point advantage over Cardiff — and second-place Bristol City meet each other on Saturday evening. Clarke’s header from a corner extended Preston’s unbeaten run to nine matches. Neither side gave any joy to the freezing fans in the first half-hour in Wales but things warmed up in the final 10 minutes before the break. Preston saw appeals for a penalty for handball waved away before Jordan Hugill spurned a great opportunity from close range as he shot over the bar. Lee Tomlin came close to scoring for Cardiff either side of half-time, before the visitors went close to breaking the deadlock entering the final 10 minutes. — AFP

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