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Plymouth Argyle 0-1 Preston North End: Liam Millar winner piles more misery in Pilgrims

Liam Millar scores his goal
Canada international Liam Millar got his fifth goal of the season for Preston

Preston manager Ryan Lowe guided his side to a much-deserved Championship win on his return to former club Plymouth Argyle.

Liam Millar gave Preston a half-time lead as he fired in Liam Lindsay's cross shortly before the break.

Layton Stewart hit the Argyle post with 16 minutes to go as North End dominated the contest.

Argyle's fans targeted their frustration at head coach Ian Foster as they failed to have an effort on target for the second of four successive goalless home matches.

Preston's fifth win in eight games moves them up to ninth in the Championship table, while an eighth winless game in nine means Argyle slip to 18th place, just two points above the relegation places.

Ryan Hardie had a couple of half-chances in the early moments before Preston were forced into a sixth-minute change as Millar came on for the injured Milutin Osmajic.

Lowe was forced into a second change after the recalled Brad Potts limped off after 19 minutes, but just a minute later North End should have been ahead when Millar somehow poked the ball wide from close range after a pinpoint Mads Frokjaer pass.

Jordan Storey had a 33rd-minute header from a corner held by Argyle keeper Michael Cooper as the visitors created the better chances before the break.

They were rewarded for their endeavour as Lindsay's cross was flicked on by Will Keane and Millar blasted a low angled effort past Cooper, before Mustapha Bundu flashed a glancing header wide of the Preston post in the sixth minute of first-half stoppage time.

Argyle defender Mickel Miller was substituted early in the second half after being beaten for pace by Millar, who saw an effort saved, while Storey had another header kept out by Cooper.

At the other end Morgan Whittaker flashed an effort wide after Preston failed to clear their lines, while Stewart went on to hit the outside of the post for the visitors after being found by a quickly-taken throw-in.

Argyle tried to get back into it in the final 10 minutes - Adam Randell curled a 20-yard effort wide while Lindsay blocked a shot from Hardie, with the Scottish striker also having a penalty claim waved away.

Plymouth Argyle head coach Ian Foster told BBC Radio Devon:

"I didn't think over the course of the first half period we were under any massive pressure from Preston North End.

"I felt we were quite unfortunate to be behind at that point, it's a game that we've dominated possession-wise but we just haven't found opportunities in which we can get the equaliser in the second half, albeit there's a stonewall penalty for us on Ryan Hardie.

"Having watched it back it's really disappointing that the referee hasn't seen it, or he has seen it and decided it's not a penalty.

"The players have given everything, there's no give-in in the players, they fought to the very end, we know how important it is for us to get points on the board and we're utterly disappointed to come away with no points."

Preston manager Ryan Lowe told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"It's not a happy return, it's a game of football and we've come here to do a job and get points and that's what we did.

"It was nice to see a few people and come back, and it's extra special when you get three points.

"I thought the lads were fantastic from start to finish.

"Losing Emil [Riis] this morning to a sickness bug, then to lose two important players in the first 20-odd minutes, I thought the lads who came on equipped themselves fantastically well and were excellent from back to front."