Alex Neil frustrated after Preston's draw with Barnsley

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Alex Neil admitted to a sense of frustration as Preston North End were held to a draw by Barnsley at Deepdale.

Things looked good for the Lilywhites when Sean Maguire headed them into the lead in the 23rd minute, rising to meet a Tom Barnkhuizen cross.

Preston manager Alex Neil

Preston manager Alex Neil

But the visitors equalised within two minutes, Darnell Fisher's clearance from an Adam Hammill cross hitting Brad Potts and going in.

Neil said: "I would probably say that I am frustrated that we didn't win the game.

AS IT HAPPENED: PNE 1-1 Barnsley

MATCH REPORT: PNE 1-1 Barnsley

Tom Barkhuizen against Barnsley

Tom Barkhuizen against Barnsley

"We started the game really well, got a good early goal but the game opened up because we were putting it wide and putting in early.

"For 15 minutes leading up to half-time we needed to play through the middle more, make more passes but we didn't do that - the game became stretched.

"The disappointing thing was we had spoken about stopping Adam Hammill putting deliveries into the box and matching Brad Potts arriving late, that is where their goal came from which was frustrating.

"We didn't deal with it well enough in terms of the ball being put in and then Darnell Fisher got himself into a good position to clear it but it went off their player and into the net.

PNE concede against Barnsley

PNE concede against Barnsley

"It was unfortunate but it shouldn't have got to that stage."

Neil thought the absence of injured midfield duo Ben Pearson and Daniel Johnson was a bearing on PNE's performance.

He said: "We were missing key players in Ben Pearson and DJ, they had been the solid foundation on which our midfield had been built on and a key component to our success.

"Take the heart of midfield out of any team and it is going to be tough.

"But I thought Paul Gallagher and Alan Browne did a good job for us in there.

"We chose to play in a different style, we didn't make as many passes, didn't play through central areas as much.

"I had watched Barnsley beat Sunderland and Sunderland had tried to play through them, Barnsley hurt them on the counter-attack three times and scored three goals.

"We weren't going to get caught by that so we put it into wider areas to use our pace with Tom Barkhuizen and Stephy Mavididi.

"That worked at times, our goal typified everything we had worked on during the week."

Neil is not putting a time limit on how long Pearson and Johnson will be out, but did suggest one could be back for Tuesday night's clash with Cardiff City.

"Ben got a deadleg at Middlesbrough and it has continued from then," said Neil.

"He had a whole week of rest, felt perfectly fine from there but when he tried to train on the Monday he felt it tighten up which wasn't good.

"We've had to taper him down from that point onwards.

"DJ was an impact injury in training which you can't do anything about.

"I'm hoping not long term for both but as always, how long is a piece of string?

"I'm hopeful of one being back for Cardiff, but we will have to wait and see."

AS IT HAPPENED: PNE 1-1 Barnsley

MATCH REPORT: PNE 1-1 Barnsley