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Preston remain in the play-off hunt after late drama

Sean Maguire scored a dramatic injury-time winner as Preston boosted their play-off hopes with a 1-0 win over Birmingham.

Maguire headed home from Daniel Johnson’s corner four minutes into stoppage-time to give the Lillywhites an undeserved yet vital three points.

Alex Neil’s men had failed to show their promotion credentials up to that point during a dull game that saw few clear-cut chances for either side.

But the late winner breathed new life into Preston’s play-off ambitions and leaves them level on points with Aston Villa who occupy the last spot.

The home started with intent and Lee Camp had to be alert to collect a Brad Potts knockdown and prevent Maguire getting in on goal inside the first minute.

Connor Mahoney cut inside and bent an effort just wide of the post as the Blues got their first sniff of goal on 14 minutes.

Declan Rudd got the better of Che Adams after he went clean through a minute later before he beat away a long-range effort from Jacques Maghoma on 19 minutes.

Gary Gardner failed to hit the target with a first-time effort from just outside the box on 25 minutes, before Jayden Stockley fired wide three minutes later.

Lukas Nmecha failed to find the target with a first time effort on 32 minutes.

Potts had a 30-yard free-kick deflected over for a Preston corner four minutes before the break.

Jordan Storey then had a shot cleared off the line by Lukas Jutkiewicz from the resulting corner and Maghoma fired wide after a good turn inside a minute before the break.

Maikel Kieftenfield could only find the side-netting with a 51st-minute volley as the Blues started well after the break, while Adams fired over the bar five minutes later as the pressure continued.

Callum Robinson came off the bench to make his first Preston appearance in nearly four months as Neil looked to shake things up on the hour mark.

And he just failed to get on the end of Stockley’s inviting cross on 66 minutes as he looked to add to his 10-goal tally for the season.

Kieftenbeld had a shot blocked by Robinson for a Birmingham corner two minutes later before Ben Pearson sent a long-range volley over.

Connor Mahoney had a shot is palmed away by Rudd on 77 minutes but Maguire finally found the breakthrough as he headed home Johnson’s corner to spark wild scenes at Deepdale.