Irish round-up: McGeady nets again as Preston snatch victory
Meanwhile, Ciaran Clark scored a late equaliser as Newcastle came from behind
Aiden McGeady netted again for Preston as they moved up to 8th with a win over QPR. Photo: Getty Images
Preston North End 2 Queen’s Park Rangers 1
Jordan Hugill’s strike completed a Preston comeback as they beat QPR 2-1 at Deepdale for their third win in four games.
Kazenga LuaLua’s sublime backheel gave the R’s an advantage but Aiden McGeady’s curling effort from 20 yards levelled before half-time.
Daryl Horgan started again on the right wing for Preston and impressed in 86 minutes of action before being substituted for Tom Barkhuizen.
Hugill’s close-range winner with less than 20 minutes left was his 10th Sky Bet Championship goal of the season, while QPR midfielder Luke Freeman was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
An early Hoops penalty appeal was turned down by referee David Coote when Matt Smith collided with Paul Huntington in the box and went down.
QPR’s Pawel Wszolek received Jake Bidwell’s 28th-minute free-kick on the edge of the area and fired straight at Chris Maxwell through a crowd.
North End responded when Horgan’s corner on the half-hour was met by Hugill and Alex Smithies displayed quick reflexes to parry the header over.
And the R’s took the lead when the Preston rearguard failed to clear Darnell Furlong’s 36th-minute throw-in and Brighton loanee LuaLua backheeled past Maxwell for his first Hoops goal.
Callum Robinson charged at the visiting defence two minutes before the break but dragged a low shot straight at Smithies.
But the in-form McGeady drew the Lilywhites level on the stroke of half-time after cutting inside and curling a right-footed shot past Smithies for his third goal in four games.
Ryan Manning evaded challenges on the edge of the Preston box two minutes after the restart to dart into the box and unleash a thundering effort just over.
Greg Cunningham nearly rounded off an impressive North End attacking move by dragging a low 51st-minute shot just wide.
Horgan led the charge on the hour and clipped in a teasing cross for Robinson who was denied by Nedum Onuoha’s crucial challenge.
Robinson thought he had given the Lilywhites a lead after 64 minutes when he poked Cunningham’s cross home but was flagged offside.
But Hugill handed Preston the advantage by tapping home after Smithies made a brilliant save from the striker’s initial 72nd-minute effort.
Bidwell denied Hugill a second moments after the restart with a key challenge, before Freeman was shown a second yellow card 12 minutes from the end.
Joel Lynch’s attempted 88th-minute clearance struck the bar before Smithies smothered Hugill’s follow up, and the QPR shot-stopper also denied Preston substitute Tom Barkhuizen late on but could not stop his side slipping to defeat.
Newcastle 2 Bristol City 2
Championship leaders Newcastle recovered from being two goals down at home to draw 2-2 with struggling Bristol City.
The Robins took a surprise two-goal lead in the first half at St James’ Park through Aaron Wilbraham and David Cotterill.
But a second-half own goal from Korey Smith and a Ciaran Clark strike secured a vital point that keeps Rafael Benitez’s men on top of the table — at least for a few hours.
With trips to Brighton, Huddersfield and Reading up next, three points at home to struggling Bristol City were a must for promotion-chasing Newcastle.
However, they were punished for a sluggish start when Lee Johnson’s men silenced St James’ in the 11th minute.
Gary O’Neil found space on the right to swing a cross over to the back post where veteran striker Wilbraham was waiting unmarked to head past Karl Darlow.
There were appeals for offside from the Newcastle defence, but they fell on deaf ears.
Eight minutes later DeAndre Yedlin made a last-ditch block to stop Bobby Reid making it two with the Magpies backline all over the place.
In the 21st minute things went from bad to worse for the hosts. Newcastle keeper Darlow was caught out by Paul Dummett’s header back, leaving Cotterill with an easy finish into an open goal.
The home faithful were dismayed and that was not helped by the fact that only Rotherham have taken fewer points away from home than Bristol City this season.
Just after the half-hour mark Benitez’s side mustered a chance when Christian Atsu’s cutback found Ayoze Perez in the box, but the Spaniard’s shot was deflected away.
The frustration on Tyneside only got worse after the interval when appeals for a home penalty were dismissed by referee Chris Kavanagh.
Aleksandar Mitrovic was bundled over by last man Aden Flint chasing Jonjo Shelvey’s searching ball, but nothing was given.
The hosts piled on the pressure as they looked to get back into the game and finally broke the Robins’ resolve in the 59th minute.
Good work by Atsu down the right saw the on-loan Chelsea man send a low ball across goal and Smith sent the ball into his own net under pressure from Shelvey on the line.
A Cotterill free-kick almost restored the visitors’ two goal lead moments later, but Darlow did well to get a strong hand to the Bristol man’s effort.
At the other end, Fabian Giefer made a great stop to deny Matt Ritchie’s stinging shot before Mitrovic headed over from a corner.
Newcastle pushed and pushed for an equaliser — and it came with eight minutes left on the clock when Clark got the final touch on Ritchie’s corner to salvage a point for the hosts.
Meanwhile, in the lunchtime kick-off, Leeds defeated Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at Elland Road to cement their place in the top six.
Chris Wood put the hosts ahead on 21 minutes with his 22nd goal of the season.
Leeds keeper Rob Green made a stunning second-half save to deny Jordan Rhodes from the penalty spot.
Wednesday remain in sixth place, but now just five clear of the chasing pack.
Seventh-placed Fulham closed the gap after a 2-2 draw at Cardiff.
The visitors took the lead on 17 minutes through Stefan Johansen following a counter-attack.
Cardiff, though, were soon level when in-form Kenneth Zohore equalised just seven minutes later.
The Danish forward made it six goals in as many games when he put the Bluebirds into the lead on 56 minutes with a well-taken effort from 20 yards.
Fulham equalised after 67 minutes through a close-range effort from Neeskens Kebano.
Huddersfield, who are third, had to be content with a 1-1 draw at Barnsley.
Defender Michael Hefele headed Town into the lead from a corner on 18 minutes, but Marley Watkins’ volley with 15 minutes left earned the hosts a point.
Aston Villa finally got back to winning ways after a goal from James Chester on 25 minutes proved enough to beat Derby and end a five-match losing streak.
Villa midfielder Leandro Bacuna, though, was shown a red card following a coming together with the assistant referee in stoppage time.
Bottom club Rotherham went down 4-2 at Brentford, where Ramallo Jota scored twice in stoppage time to deny the visitors a point.
Spanish forward Jota fired the Bees into the lead after 13 minutes, but Tunisia midfielder Aimen Belaid had Rotherham level with a header on 67 minutes.
However, Nico Yennaris netted a second for the hosts on 78 minutes, but Limerick man Anthony Forde snatched an equaliser with just three minutes left.
Jota, though, had the final say when his penalty put Brentford 3-2 ahead in stoppage time, before completing his hat-trick following a counter attack.
Wigan remain in the bottom three after they played out a goalless draw with Nottingham Forest at the DW Stadium.