Mellor gives Preston bragging rights

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Substitute Neil Mellor's 85th-minute penalty gave in-form Preston a 2-1 victory over Lancashire rivals Burnley and further enhanced their bid to claim a coveted Coca-Cola Championship play-off berth.

The former Liverpool striker had only been on the pitch for a minute when he squeezed his spot-kick under Brian Jensen after a handball from Clarets skipper Steven Caldwell.

Callum Davidson had put Preston ahead from the spot in the 53rd minute. Burnley substitute Robbie Blake's stunning free-kick drew his side level in the 77th minute before Mellor struck to give Alan Irvine's men their sixth successive home win.

The result lifted North End four points clear of Burnley and left home fans singing about winning promotion to the promised land of the Barclays Premier League.

Preston seized the initiative after the break and were rewarded eight minutes in when Stephen Elliott scampered onto a loose ball and saw his progress clumsily halted by Jensen.

Davidson stepped up to slot home a low, left-footed effort to Jensen's left and Preston wasted no time going in search of a killer second.

On the hour, Ross Wallace crossed well from the left and former Burnley midfielder Richard Chaplow arrived to head straight at Jensen from eight yards out.

Yet Burnley began to enjoy more territory and drew level in the 77th minute through Blake's stunning strike.

The former Birmingham and Leeds forward was fouled by Billy Jones around 25 yards out and strode forward to curl a superb right-footed shot into the top-left corner via the inside of a post.

However, Irvine replaced Elliott with Mellor in the 84th minute and the move paid off moments later with the striker hitting the winner from the spot for his ninth goal of the season after Caldwell's aberration.

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Ross Wallace
Neil Mellor
Steven Caldwell
Billy Jones
Brian Jensen
Premier League
Preston North End
Richard Chaplow
Robbie Blake
Stephen Elliott
Leeds United
Callum Davidson
Billy Jones

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