Cameron Archer bags late winner for Preston at struggling Peterborough

Chelsea v Aston Villa – Carabao Cup – Third Round – Stamford Bridge
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Preston continued their Championship play-off challenge with a 1-0 success at struggling Peterborough.

Loan ace Cameron Archer made the decisive breakthrough at the Weston Homes Stadium as North End extended their fine record under new boss Ryan Lowe.

Archer struck his third goal in four starts since his January arrival from Aston Villa when guiding a classy left-footed finish past Posh keeper Steven Benda in the 80th minute following fine work from Daniel Johnson.

It means the Lilywhites, who remain four points off the top six, stretched their unbeaten away run to five matches and have lost just once in 11 outings since the appointment of former Plymouth chief Lowe in early December.

However, it was a harsh outcome for relegation battlers Posh – not least of all because Archer’s strike arrived less than a minute after the hosts had hit the woodwork.

The impressive Joe Ward slammed a long-range free-kick against the bar as Posh came agonisingly close to hitting the front only to then find themselves behind within seconds.

A tricky pitch and swirling wind meant attractive football was in seriously short supply during a contest that won’t live long in the memory.

But a Posh side possessing the worst attacking and defensive records in the Championship were the better team for long periods as they attempted to drag themselves out of the drop zone.

North End’s Daniel Iversen was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers with an early save from Reece Brown being followed by other stops to deny Jonson Clarke-Harris and Ollie Norburn in the first half.

Preston offered little before the break after ex-Posh man Andrew Hughes landed a wind-assisted cross on Benda’s bar early on.

Their slickest attack of the first period then ended with a Johnson shot being well blocked by Josh Knight before Archer dragged a decent opportunity wide in the opening minute of the second half.

Posh looked more dangerous again with Ward involved in their best moments.

He tested Iversen with a fierce shot after swapping passes with Jeando Fuchs before delivering a teasing cross which Kwame Poku bundled over from point-blank range.

But it was Preston who did eventually strike as the in-form Archer – a shrewd capture in the transfer window – found his bearings late on to earn his side victory.

Posh boss Darren Ferguson sent on strikers Jack Marriott and Ricky-Jade Jones in a bid to snatch a leveller but it was to no avail as they remain two points from safety ahead of a crunch showdown against fellow strugglers Reading on Wednesday.

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