Sheffield United's hopes of staying in the Championship hang by a thread after a defeat at fellow strugglers Preston.

Keith Treacy opened the scoring after the break with a 30-yard effort and doubled Preston's lead with a strike into the top corner from 18 yards.

Jordan Slew hit back for the Blades with a shot from the edge of the box.

Darius Henderson hit the post for the Blades before Nathan Ellington's strike sealed Preston's win to leave the away team eight points from safety.

North End are four points adrift of Crystal Palace, who are 21st in the table, with four games of the season remaining.

Phil Brown's Preston have won their last three home fixtures and are in reasonable overall form as they look forward to the remainder of the campaign.

The Blades have lost their last four games and were second best for long periods at Deepdale.

North End had a good chance in the opening minutes but striker Chris Brown could not keep his header on target from Treacy's cross.

Treacy, who had a spell on loan at Bramall Lane last season, then narrowly missed from 18 yards, while Iain Hume also went close.

The Blades bounced back and both Harry Maguire and Stephen Quinn went close for the visiting side, while Ian Turner denied Slew with a low shot.

Preston responded and although Brown should have done better from 12 yards, Treacy did eventually put the home side ahead, setting North End on their way to a crucial three points.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Preston North End

  • 21 Turner
  • 02 Morgan
  • 03 Khumalo
  • 19 Jones
  • 10 Nicholson
  • 11 Treacy (Ellington - 78' )
  • 24 Ashbee
  • 41 Carter Booked
  • 09 Brown (Russell - 83' )
  • 16 Hume
  • 27 Johnson (Coutts - 72' Booked )

Substitutes

  • 01 Lonergan
  • 42 Wright
  • 45 Devine
  • 07 Coutts
  • 20 Russell
  • 08 Hayes
  • 18 Ellington

Sheffield United

  • 01 Simonsen
  • 21 Lowry (Bogdanovic - 75' )
  • 23 Collins
  • 34 Lowton
  • 40 Maguire Booked
  • 04 Montgomery
  • 08 Doyle Booked (Williamson - 65' )
  • 28 Quinn Booked
  • 38 BH Riise (Philliskirk - 66' )
  • 07 Henderson
  • 35 Slew

Substitutes

  • 13 Aksalu
  • 22 Kozluk
  • 14 Williamson
  • 24 McAllister
  • 27 Philliskirk
  • 36 Harriott
  • 10 Bogdanovic
Ref: Tanner
Att: 12,076

Match Stats

Shots

12 9

On target

4 4

Corners

4 5

Fouls

16 12

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +5:18 Full time

Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.

90:00 +2:54

Unfair challenge on Nick Montgomery by Nathan Ellington results in a free kick. Nick Montgomery takes the indirect free kick.

90:00 +1:36

Corner taken by Daniel Bogdanovic, Bongani Khumalo manages to make a clearance.

89:23

The assist for the goal came from Iain Hume.

89:23 Goal scored

Goal! - Nathan Ellington - Preston 3 - 1 Sheff Utd Nathan Ellington scores a goal from the edge of the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Preston 3-1 Sheff Utd.

88:44

Nathan Ellington is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Steve Simonsen.

87:19

Free kick awarded for a foul by Stephen Quinn on Paul Coutts. Indirect free kick taken by Barry Nicholson.

84:43

Corner taken by Daniel Bogdanovic from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Darel Russell.

83:44

The referee penalises Matthew Lowton for handball. Free kick crossed right-footed by Iain Hume, Nathan Ellington concedes a free kick for a foul on Harry Maguire. Steve Simonsen takes the free kick.

82:52 Substitution

Substitution Darel Russell replaces Chris Brown.

82:10

Free kick taken by Steve Simonsen.

82:10 Booking

Booking Paul Coutts receives a caution.

81:55

Paul Coutts concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Williamson.

79:13

Unfair challenge on Harry Maguire by Chris Brown results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Steve Simonsen.

77:40 Substitution

Substitution Nathan Ellington joins the action as a substitute, replacing Keith Treacy.

76:39

Darius Henderson has an effort at goal from inside the penalty box that bounces off the post.

76:01

The official flags Paul Coutts offside. Indirect free kick taken by Steve Simonsen.

74:05

Direct free kick taken by Stephen Quinn.

74:05 Substitution

Substitution Daniel Bogdanovic comes on in place of Shane Lowry.

74:05

Ian Ashbee gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jordan Slew.

71:30 Goal scored

Goal! - Jordan Slew - Preston 2 - 1 Sheff Utd Goal scored by Jordan Slew from just outside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Preston 2-1 Sheff Utd.

71:30 Substitution

Substitution (Preston) makes a substitution, with Paul Coutts coming on for Eddie Johnson.

71:09

Eddie Johnson delivers the ball, save made by Steve Simonsen.

67:12 Goal scored

Goal! - Keith Treacy - Preston 2 - 0 Sheff Utd Keith Treacy finds the net with a goal from just inside the area to the top right corner of the goal. Preston 2-0 Sheff Utd.

66:43

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Keith Treacy from the left by-line, Harry Maguire manages to make a clearance.

64:32

Shane Lowry restarts play with the free kick.

64:32 Substitution

Substitution Daniel Philliskirk on for Bjorn Helge Riise.

64:32 Substitution

Substitution Michael Doyle leaves the field to be replaced by Lee Williamson.

64:32 Booking

Booking Darren Carter booked.

64:22

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stephen Quinn by Darren Carter.

63:30

Bjorn Helge Riise fouled by Keith Treacy, the ref awards a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Steve Simonsen.

61:45 Booking

Booking Stephen Quinn is shown a yellow card for dissent.

59:34

Shot from 12 yards from Nick Montgomery. Save made by Iain Turner. Bjorn Helge Riise takes a short corner.

57:41

Keith Treacy fouled by Matthew Lowton, the ref awards a free kick. Keith Treacy produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick,

57:03

Unfair challenge on Harry Maguire by Chris Brown results in a free kick. Harry Maguire takes the indirect free kick.

56:41

Effort from the edge of the area by Iain Hume goes wide of the left-hand upright.

55:31

Jordan Slew is caught offside. Iain Turner takes the indirect free kick.

54:25 Goal scored

Goal! - Keith Treacy - Preston 1 - 0 Sheff Utd Keith Treacy finds the net with a goal from long distance to the bottom left corner of the goal. Preston 1-0 Sheff Utd.

53:45

Foul by Jordan Slew on Billy Jones, free kick awarded. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Keith Treacy,

52:52

The offside flag is raised against Darius Henderson. Iain Turner restarts play with the free kick.

51:26

The assistant referee signals for offside against Jordan Slew. Indirect free kick taken by Iain Turner.

50:31

Stephen Quinn has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

49:41

Shot from just outside the box by Eddie Johnson goes over the crossbar.

48:35

Bjorn Helge Riise takes a shot.

46:51

Foul by Billy Jones on Bjorn Helge Riise, free kick awarded. Bjorn Helge Riise takes the free kick.

45:01

The referee starts the second half.

45:00 +2:22 Half time

Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.

45:00 +1:29

Darren Carter challenges Bjorn Helge Riise unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Bjorn Helge Riise, clearance made by Bongani Khumalo.

45:00 +0:25

Shot from 18 yards from Chris Brown. Steve Simonsen makes a save.

44:11

Billy Jones produces a cross, clearance made by Neill Collins.

42:42

Foul by Chris Brown on Nick Montgomery, free kick awarded. Steve Simonsen takes the indirect free kick.

41:32

The ball is delivered by Chris Brown.

37:54

Harry Maguire handles the ball and concedes a free kick.

37:30

Indirect free kick taken by Craig Morgan.

37:30 Booking

Booking Booking for Harry Maguire for unsporting behaviour.

35:57

Foul by Neill Collins on Iain Hume, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Craig Morgan.

31:55

Effort on goal by Chris Brown from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.

30:38

Eddie Johnson takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.

30:08

The referee blows for offside against Jordan Slew. Indirect free kick taken by Craig Morgan.

28:48

The ball is delivered by Barry Nicholson, clearance made by Matthew Lowton.

28:24

Jordan Slew takes a shot. Brilliant save by Iain Turner.

26:45

Darius Henderson challenges Iain Turner unfairly and gives away a free kick. Iain Turner takes the indirect free kick.

25:10

Chris Brown concedes a free kick for a foul on Nick Montgomery. Harry Maguire takes the indirect free kick.

24:07

Stephen Quinn has an effort at goal.

22:03

Shot by Harry Maguire from a long way out goes over the target.

20:46

Unfair challenge on Stephen Quinn by Craig Morgan results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Bjorn Helge Riise.

20:18

The assistant referee signals for offside against Jordan Slew. Iain Turner takes the free kick.

19:59

Craig Morgan challenges Darius Henderson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Bjorn Helge Riise takes the free kick.

18:53

Unfair challenge on Iain Hume by Shane Lowry results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Keith Treacy from right wing.

17:58

The ball is delivered by Stephen Quinn.

16:52

Stephen Quinn concedes a free kick for a foul on Barry Nicholson. Free kick taken by Iain Turner.

16:28

Centre by Eddie Johnson, Steve Simonsen makes a comfortable save.

14:51

Craig Morgan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jordan Slew. Free kick crossed by Bjorn Helge Riise, Iain Turner makes a save.

14:32

Stephen Quinn takes a shot. Blocked by Craig Morgan.

13:20

Iain Hume fouled by Michael Doyle, the ref awards a free kick. Keith Treacy restarts play with the free kick.

12:34

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Bjorn Helge Riise by Ian Ashbee. Indirect free kick taken by Harry Maguire.

9:03

Chris Brown fouled by Harry Maguire, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed by Barry Nicholson, clearance by Darius Henderson.

7:24

Foul by Darius Henderson on Iain Turner, free kick awarded. Iain Turner takes the indirect free kick.

6:54

Inswinging corner taken by Bjorn Helge Riise, Iain Turner makes a save.

6:34

Corner taken short by Bjorn Helge Riise.

4:49

Shot comes in from Keith Treacy from the free kick. Outswinging corner taken by Keith Treacy from the left by-line. Corner from the left by-line taken by Keith Treacy, save by Steve Simonsen.

4:49 Booking

Booking Caution for Michael Doyle.

4:38

Free kick awarded for a foul by Michael Doyle on Darren Carter.

4:00

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jordan Slew on Darren Carter. Craig Morgan takes the free kick.

3:12

Shot from just outside the box by Iain Hume misses to the right of the target.

2:28

Keith Treacy has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the target.

1:07

Corner taken by Keith Treacy, Header by Chris Brown from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.

0:00

The match has kicked off.

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