Losing start for Tony Pulis as 10-man Sheffield Wednesday go down at Preston

Sheffield Wednesday manager Tony Pulis lost his opening match at Preston
Sheffield Wednesday manager Tony Pulis lost his opening match at Preston (PA Wire)
17:20pm, Sat 21 Nov 2020
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Tony Pulis made a losing start as Sheffield Wednesday boss as his 10-man side lost 1-0 to Preston at Deepdale.

Tom Barkhuizen’s second-half strike ended Preston’s dismal run of five home league games without a win.

Josh Windass’ early dismissal gave the visitors a mountain to climb and they were made to pay shortly after half-time when Barkhuizen volleyed home a superb left-footed opener.

The Owls failed to respond and remain in the relegation zone as their nine-year run without a win at Deepdale continued.

Pulis’ men had the first attempt in an edgy start as Windass’ audacious long-range lobbed effort drifted harmlessly over the crossbar.

Soon after, Owls skipper Barry Bannan’s beautifully whipped corner evaded the whole defence but former Preston man Adam Reach couldn’t convert from a tight angle at the back post.

But Wednesday were dealt a huge blow in the 17th minute when Windass received a straight red card for a high-foot on Preston full-back Joe Rafferty.

Windass’ dangerous challenge gave Wednesday their fourth red card from 13 league fixtures this season and put the visitors on the back foot in the opening stages.

The Lilywhites immediately looked to press home their man advantage as Ryan Ledson’s chipped effort floated over recalled Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper Keiren Westwood.

But Alex Neil’s men were still susceptible to the counter and Callum Paterson cleverly found Australia international Massimo Luongo on the break, but his well-struck effort deflected into the side-netting.

Preston’s star man Scott Sinclair was incensed not to have been awarded a penalty before half-time after appearing to be upended by opposite number Liam Palmer in the box but the Owls resiliently went into the break level with Westwood relatively untested.

But Westwood, who was starting for the first time in 12 months, failed to deal adequately with a threatening delivery from the left three minutes after the break.

Barkhuizen then followed up with a superbly struck left-footed volley past the helpless 36-year-old to give Preston the lead.

Barkhuizen’s glorious strike was his first goal of the season and only Preston’s second in six league matches at Deepdale.

Pulis’ men were struggling to cope with Preston’s attacking intensity as substitute Jayden Stockley just failed to meet Barkhuizen’s inviting cross.

Captain Daniel Johnson almost doubled the home side’s lead but his left-footed shot was agonisingly wide of the target.

Then substitute Paul Gallagher’s free-kick almost sealed the three points with Westwood rooted to the spot.

But Wednesday failed to sustain any attacking pressure in the closing moments as Preston held on for their fifth league victory of the season.

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