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2017/18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Matt Smith (13')
  • Callum Robinson (45')
  • Alan Browne (74')

Callum Robinson brace keeps Preston in play-off hunt

Callum Robinson scored twice as Preston kept their Championship play-off hopes alive with a 2-1 victory at QPR.
North End came from behind to win at Loftus Road, where Robinson equalised in first-half injury-time after Matt Smith's 13th-minute goal had put Rangers ahead.
The home side struggled in the second half and Preston had a goal disallowed for offside when Tom Clarke's header from Paul Gallagher's free-kick was touched over the line by Robinson.
But there was no let-off for Rangers in the 74th minute, when another Gallagher free-kick similarly led to Robinson touching the ball in, this time after a header from Alan Browne.
Browne's header to the far corner was going in and might have crossed the line before Robinson added the final touch, leaving North End three points off the top six.
Target man Smith's 10th of the campaign had put QPR in the driving seat.
When Ryan Manning's free-kick from the left was cleared straight back to the Irish youngster, he volleyed the ball high into the box where it dropped to Smith, who stabbed it past goalkeeper Declan Rudd from close range.
The same pair combined again when Smith nodded Jake Bidwell's cross back towards Manning, whose header was tipped over by Rudd.
The inclusions of Manning and Smith were among five changes made by Rangers boss Ian Holloway, who recalled Massimo Luongo and Ebere Eze and also played keeper Matt Ingram.
Ingram was shown a yellow card eight minutes before half-time for fouling Browne after the Preston midfielder had charged down his clearance.
From the resulting free-kick from the right-hand side, delivered by Billy Bodin, Paul Huntington's goal-bound header was hacked away by Bidwell.
However, neither Ingram nor Alex Baptiste were able to prevent Robinson's tap-in crossing the line after Darnell Fisher had pulled the ball back from the right.
Manning's weak shot was comfortably gathered by Rudd as both teams initially struggled to create chances after the interval.
But as Rangers ran out of ideas, Preston were able to impose themselves and Robinson secured a second win in four days.
Ingram denied them a third goal when he saved from Tom Barkhuizen in stoppage time.

English League Championship Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Norwich City 43 +34 87
2 Sheffield United 43 +32 82
3 Leeds United 43 +26 82
4 West Bromwich Albion 43 +26 76
5 Aston Villa 43 +21 72
6 Middlesbrough 43 +9 67
7 Bristol City 42 +9 66
8 Derby County 42 +9 64
9 Preston North End 43 +5 60
10 Hull City 43 +1 60
11 Sheffield Wednesday 43 -3 60
12 Swansea City 42 +2 59
13 Nottingham Forest 43 +2 57
14 Blackburn Rovers 43 -6 56
15 Brentford 43 +8 55
16 Stoke City 43 -7 52
17 Queens Park Rangers 43 -16 48
18 Birmingham City 43 +4 47
19 Reading 43 -16 45
20 Wigan Athletic 43 -16 45
21 Millwall 42 -13 43
22 Rotherham United 43 -27 40
23 Bolton Wanderers 43 -45 32
24 Ipswich Town 43 -39 28