A PENALTY from Richard Cresswell, awarded after a handball by Gino Padula, earned North End the points against in-form QPR.

It was his second 'goal' of the night as he had aleardy put the ball in the net once but, unfortunately, a fraction of a second after the referee had blown for a penalty which was subsequently missed by David Healy.

George Santos had given Rangers the lead after six minutes with a header from Lee Cook's corner before Healy equalised two minutes later. The striker scotched any ideas fans may have had that he no longer had the commitment for the Whites when he pounced after a poor backpass from Santos to score past Chris Day.

Kevin McLeod hit the woodwork for QPR, while the visiting keeper twice denied Claude Davis, but, although he saved Healy's tame effort from the spot he could do nothing about Cresswell's spot kick.

North End boss Billy Davies praised Healy for his effort. "He worked his socks off and has shown he is great goal scorer," he said.