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Daniel Johnson takes Preston into play-off contention

Daniel Johnson’s second goal in as many games gave Championship play-off hopefuls Preston a battling 1-0 victory at Blackburn.

The midfielder pounced in the eighth minute with an emphatic finish to give the Lilywhites a lead they were ultimately able to hold on to, despite going down to 10 men in injury time after Darnell Fisher was given a second yellow card.

Blackburn huffed and puffed but could not beat visiting goalkeeper Declan Rudd.

Victory at Ewood Park means North End are 10 games unbeaten, winning their last five on the road, a feat not achieved at this level since Sir Tom Finney’s playing days.

Defeat for Rovers – their sixth in seven games – makes this their longest winless league sequence in almost two years.

Tony Mowbray recalled Derrick Williams after his suspension ended, replacing the injured Jack Rodwell in one of three changes.

Brad Potts missed out through injury for the visitors, who started Lukas Nmecha in his place.

Rovers started well and a neat through-ball from Bradley Dack allowed Adam Armstrong to race clear on the left, but the forward’s drive drifted wide of the far post.

But the Lilywhites punished Rovers with their first sight of goal as Nmecha charged clear on the right and pulled the ball back to the waiting Johnson who thrashed his effort into the roof of the net from 15 yards.

Preston were comfortable after the early strike but were thankful for Rudd’s intervention midway through the first half when he was at full strength to tip Danny Graham’s looping header behind.

Charlie Mulgrew was inches wide from finding the net directly from the resulting corner.

The hosts kept up the pressure after the restart, with Mulgrew once again troubling the visitors directly from a corner, forcing Rudd to punch clear.

From the resulting set-piece, Mulgrew’s cross found Armstrong, whose glancing header was lashed clear off the line by Fisher.

Former Rover Paul Gallagher weaved through the Blackburn defence in the 56th minute before seeing his shot smothered by David Raya, while at the other end, Rudd produced a stunning save to stop Ryan Ledson putting through his own goal.

Fisher saw red late in injury time, receiving his second yellow for bringing down substitute Amari’i Bell.

There was still time for another Blackburn chance, but Armstrong got his header all wrong when unmarked 12 yards out.