Preston North End 2-1 Coventry City
Coventry were undone by an organized and resolute Preston team searching for goals, and wins.
From kick off, you can see that Preston were matched up with Coventry, and happy to let the center backs have the ball. Sinclair, here, is controlling where McFadzean can go with the ball.
As Coventry searched for a way through Preston, they ran into the same issues you can see here. O'Hare is checking in for the ball against a compact Preston midfield. Under immediate pressure, he loses the ball and within a 20-yard area it is a 6v5 with neither team able to get control of the ball.
You can also see that both Hamer and Kelly are underneath the ball, leaving a tired-looking Gyokeres and Walker ahead and isolated against a strong back three.
Coventry did have a lot of success with longer balls (74 total in the game) into the channels. However, only 1/4 of all passes for Coventry were targeted in the final third, demonstrating the resolute defending and organization of this Preston team who showed they are stronger than their league position indicates.
Preston started both halves strong. The first half leveled out and you would argue Coventry finished stronger, especially with the goal, but it never really looked like coming. Into the second half and it felt like if Coventry could ride the pressure again, they could impact the game as they did in the first. However, that did not happen.
Here you see that an attempted long ball from Coventry is knocked down into Browne's path. As the game is stretched here with Coventry frustrated in the flow of the game, Browne combines with Johnson and the Coventry line is broken, with a lot of space ahead.
Blame is tough, and the first Preston goal came from a wave of pressure that was fanned by Maatsaen's bad touch resulting in a corner. Whilst the header was exceptional to make it 1-1, Coventry really struggled to impact the game and it feels like the goal tricked Robins and the team into thinking they could ride this game out.
With no runners ahead of midfield, the game was stifled and Preston prevented any quick Coventry counter-attacks. The case for a box midfield behind a single striker could be had and Allen, as a fourth midfielder to get ahead of the ball would have been a good shout. In hindsight, of course.
Stats from whoscored.com