Crawley are beaten at Preston

Jamie Proctor in action at Preston today. Picture by Richard Parkes

Jamie Proctor in action at Preston today. Picture by Richard Parkes

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Crawley lost for a third consecutive game without scoring as they went down 1-0 away to fifth-placed Preston in League One.

Joe Garner scored the only goal on 13 minutes John Gregory’s side followed defeats by Oldham and Sheffield United with another loss.

Billy Clarke spurned Crawley’s best chance to grab a point when he lifted a close-range shot over the crossbar in the second half.

The Reds were without Matt Tubbs, who was sidelined by a minor hamstring injury.

Preston-born Jamie Proctor came in for Tubbs while Josh Simpson replaced the suspended Kyle McFadzean with Mark Connolly switching to central defence.

New loan signings Jeffrey Monkana and Gwion Edwards were left on the bench.

There were questions asked in defence when Garner was left unchallenged to head home Keith Keane’s cross to break the deadlock after 13 minutes.

It was a blow to Crawley but the responded well in a low-key opening 45 minutes with Andy Drury feeding Mike Jones whose low shot was held.

Their best chance of the half came four minutes before the break when keeper Declan Rudd flapped at a corner but Simpson steered his shot wide of the target.

Garner had a chance to double the advantage within two minutes of the restart as Crawley looked for an offside flag but Connolly got enough of a block on his shot to avert the danger.

The hosts threatened again on 58 minutes when Stuart Beavon glanced a header inches past the far post from a cross by Lee Holmes.

Reds keeper Paul Jones made a great save with his legs to deny Garner what looked like a certain second after the striker had been picked out by John Welsh on 65 minutes.

Then moments later Clarke lifted a shot over the bar from six yards at the other end after Sergio Torres had played a corner into his path.

Jones made another excellent save to keep Crawley in the game ten minutes from time when he pushed away a free-kick by Holmes from the edge of the area.

In stoppage time Proctor headed Crawley’s final chance over the bar from a corner.

Crawley: P.Jones; Simpson, M.Connolly, Walsh, Sadler; M.Jones, Bulman (sub Monakana 77), Torres; Drury, Clarke; Proctor. Subs not used: Fallon, Kaikai, Boateng, Edwards, Dicker, Maddison.

Preston: Rudd; Keane, King, Clarke, Buchanan; Holmes; Welsh, Kilkenny (sub Browne 66), Gallagher (sub Humphey 74); Garner, Beavon (sub C.Davies 86). Subs not used: Laird, Wright, K.Davies, Stuckmann.

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