Paul Gallagher’s stunner helped Preston pick up their first win of the season with an impressive 3-0 victory over Wigan in an entertaining Lancashire derby at Deepdale.
After losing 1-0 away at Millwall on the opening day, Preston had too much for Paul Cook’s team, as first-half goals from Sean Maguire and Louis Moult set them on their way – before a brilliant second-half strike from veteran midfielder Gallagher.
Alex Neil’s side flew out of the blocks in their first home game of the season, with Maguire on target after just six minutes.
The Republic of Ireland international endured an injury-disrupted 2018-19 season, however he showed no signs of rustiness to steal in front of his marker and nod home Gallagher’s corner.
Despite their early setback, Wigan reacted quickly to falling behind as Josh Windass forced a fine save from Declan Rudd with a long-range drive on 14 minutes.
Following the frantic start, the game became scrappy for a 15-minute spell, with referee Jeremy Simpson booking Nathan Byrne and Lewis Macleod for Wigan, and Ben Pearson for the hosts in quick succession.
Preston did show some flashes of attacking intent, with Daniel Johnson coming close to a second for the Lilywhites on 26 minutes, but David Marshall reacted quickly to block his close-range effort.
With the home side increasing the pressure on the Latics, Moult was able to grab a second following some poor defending from Wigan.
Johnson delivered a curling cross from the right and, with the visitors’ back four far too static, Moult was allowed a free header from six yards out on 39 minutes.
Neil’s side then put the game beyond doubt nine minutes after the break, with Gallagher netting a wonderful strike from 20 yards.
Johnson laid off a free-kick to the former Blackburn Rovers man and he fired into the top corner, giving Marshall no chance.
Despite not having anything left to play for in the closing stages, Wigan refused to throw in the towel and Lee Evans’ 25-yard strike almost caught out Rudd – with the Preston keeper having to spring into action to tip over.
As the game drifted towards its conclusion, Wigan had one final chance to snatch a late consolation goal, however Rudd was again able to deny Windass from range on 82 minutes.
It was a disappointing follow-up to their impressive opening-day 3-2 triumph over Cardiff for Wigan, as their hosts deservedly got their first three points of the season on the board.
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