Preston North End secured maximum points on their travels for the third time in a row as captain Alan Browne’s double saw them beat Huddersfield Town.
Huddersfield came into the match unbeaten in four and deservedly led early on through Fraizer Campbell’s strike.
But Preston responded impressively after the break and two goals in the space of three minutes from Browne turned the game on its head.
Naby Sarr’s red card compounded the defeat for the Terriers, who slip into the bottom half of the Championship table with Preston moving the other way.
Story of the match
Despite back-to-back wins, Carlos Corberan switched his formation again by returning to a back five, and with that system Huddersfield made a blistering start, playing the better football from the off and taking the lead within eight minutes.
Lewis O’Brien, making his first start of the season following injury, slid the ball in behind the defence and Campbell held off his man to slide the ball underneath goalkeeper Declan Rudd.
An unchanged Preston were drastically off the pace in the opening stages and Campbell almost benefitted for a second soon after. Harry Toffolo was left free on the left to hook in a cross, and the striker was equally untroubled as he rose for the header only to nod wide.
Having been suffocated by the press early on, Preston eventually begin to find some rhythm and composure. Patrick Bauer couldn’t head on target from a corner, and a mistake at the back from Richard Stearman allowed Scott Sinclair to nip in only to strike wide.
Emil Riis had little service up front for the visitors but did have one effort brilliantly blocked by Sarr, while right wing-back Pipa had a long-ranger saved by Rudd at the other end.
The half ended in anger following a challenge from Brad Potts on Campbell. It was late, forceful and highly reckless, but the studs weren't up and he was only shown a yellow card by referee Josh Smith.
Preston had been improving but nothing boosts confidence quite like a goal, and that’s what they got six minutes after the restart. Daniel Johnson did well to dispossess Stearman in the box and the ball fell to Browne, who decisively fired into the corner to level.
From there they looked a whole new team, and they needed only a couple more minutes to become a winning team with the gracious assistance of Huddersfield goalkeeper Ben Hamer. He let Andrew Hughes’ cross slip through his grasp with his defender Sarr an impediment underneath him, and Browne seized the opportunity with a fine lob into the abandoned net.
Now it was the Terriers looking sloppy and off the pace, and Corberan broke out Plan B with a back four reinstated. That brought them extra possession but with their opponents organised well in defence, the best chances continued to fall in the other box.
Twice in quick succession Preston ran through on goal, first through Potts who was denied only by a last-ditch challenge from Sarr which didn't appear to have reached the ball, but play was waved on. Then one simple long ball put Riis in the clear, but he pushed his shot wide.
There would be greater consequences the next time the Dane bore down on goal though. Running clear down the left, Sarr looked to make another heroic tackle but this time got it badly wrong, and a red card was inevitable.
That gave Huddersfield a mighty task, and they were unable to find a response despite two Pipa efforts in an exciting finish. Josh Harrop and Riis could have made it more comfortable for Preston in added time, but the former couldn't squeeze the ball in after a counter and the latter smacked the crossbar.
It’s not only in the Premier League that we’re seeing wildly expansive football – the Championship is providing some thrilling contests as well, and in some periods this game was as thrilling as you could ask for.
The contest began when the teamsheets were handed in, with Corberan’s switch back to 3-5-2 prompting Alex Neil in turn to move to the same system with Hughes pushed inside and Browne shifted to wing-back.
It was set to be exciting though Huddersfield set the early pace and got the goal. After that Preston settled into it, and by the second half seemed to have extra jelly in the legs while their opponents wore out.
But Huddersfield’s substitutions brought them back to life, while Neil chose to fight fire with fire and go all-out themselves. The result was a particularly thrilling final quarter to the game, with waves of attack from end to end despite, or perhaps helped by, Sarr’s dismissal.
Both sides were quite aggrieved with some of the big decisions that the officials had to make in this one.
At the end of the first half, Potts only got yellow for his challenge on Campbell. Both sides have valid arguments; it was late, reckless and two-footed, but at the same time the studs weren’t raised and there was no intent. It certainly fell under the ‘seen them given’ category.
For Sarr’s first challenge in the second half, denying Potts when through on goal in the box, Neil felt it was a clear penalty. The defender certainly didn’t appear to get a touch on the ball and it looked like it would be an obvious award, but the appeals were strangely muted which maybe prevented the referee from thinking again.
Sarr could, however, have few complaints about his straight red card, and he will be a costly miss over Huddersfield’s next three matches.
Man of the match - Alan Browne (Preston)
Two very well-taken goals delivered the win as the captain dragged his side back from behind.