Late goals costing PNE says Johnson

Daniel Johnson tries a shot against Barnsley at Oakwell on Saturday
Daniel Johnson tries a shot against Barnsley at Oakwell on Saturday
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Preston North End’s midfield maestro Daniel Johnson said the 1-1 draw with in-form Barnsley at Oakwell felt like a defeat.

Tykes substitute Jabo Ibehre cancelled out Joe Garner’s first-half strike in the 79th minute.

And after conceding twice in the last 10 minutes in a 2-2 draw with Doncaster Rovers earlier this month Johnson thinks North End need to stop shipping late goals if they want to achieve promotion from League One.

He said: “We all know what we are striving for. We all know what we want. So it did feel like a defeat.

“We need to stop conceding late goals. We keep conceding them and I think that is a thing we need to improve on.”

But despite the draw, PNE are in second spot in the League One table and moved three points clear of third-placed Swindon Town.

Johnson’s pace, flair and precision passing has been instrumental in North End’s recent fine spell of form.

PNE are unbeaten in their last 10 league matches but Johnson bemoaned the conditions at Oakwell.

For once, the former Aston Villa central midfielder was unable to pull the strings and dictate play from the centre, thanks to a well-organised Barnsley side.

And Johnson said the pitch hampered North End’s natural free-flowing passing game.

He said: “The game was very difficult for us today with the conditions, and the pitch wasn’t the best.

“We had to play the conditions. It was quite horrible for us because we like to get the ball down and pass it and get Joe Garner and Jermaine Beckford in behind and pick up second balls and play from there.

“It was horrible. But I think it was a good point.

“It was a good graft for us, we knew when we came here that it was going to be a hard game. Obviously they are on a good run so we knew what we’d be up against.

“We just had to play the conditions and the pitch really.

“At times we didn’t really get it down and pass it as we would like to but we will get games like that and we just have to play the conditions.”

With nine games left to play, Johnson said he is concentrating on getting points on the board rather than keeping tabs on PNE’s promotion rivals.

He said: “We will just keep going and doing what we do.

“Obviously results have gone our way but we are not really concentrating on what everyone else is doing – we’ve just got to keep doing what we do,

“If you were going to say we were going to get seven points out of nine we’d take that. Obviously we want the full nine but we’ll take seven.”

The midfielder praised Garner for bagging his 21st goal of the season but believes the top scorer should have scored earlier on Saturday, when he chested the ball towards goal from two yards out in the 10th minute.

He said: “He should have scored one before he did, with the chance that he had.

“If he headed it, I think 
it would have gone straight 
in.

“That is what he’s about – goalscoring and I’m happy for him.

“I’ve settled in here really nicely and I couldn’t ask for a better start.

“We always look forward to the next game and we are looking forward to playing Fleetwood on Sunday”