Goal but little joy for PNE ace

Preston North End's Marnick Vermijl
Preston North End's Marnick Vermijl
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Marnick Vermijl admitted to being very disappointed that his goal in Preston North End’s Boxing Day defeat to Leeds counted for so little.

The Belgian drove home his second goal of the season to pull PNE back into the game after the visitors had taken a 2-0 lead.

But Leeds scored a third goal within four minutes to leave Simon Grayson’s men with a mountain to climb.

Vermijl told the Evening Post: “It is always nice to score but in the end, you just want to win the game.

“I would have preferred not to score and for us to have taken the three points, sadly it was not to be.

“Looking back, it was a good goal, I struck the ball well and I was pleased to see it go in.

“Had it stayed at 2-1 for longer rather than Leeds quickly scoring again, who knows how things would have turned out?

“In the first half, we were a bit off it, we didn’t really look ourselves.

“Normally we are solid and hard to break down.

“We were too far away from their players and that allowed Leeds the space to play in.

“The gaffer pointed that out to us at half-time and in the second half we picked ourselves up.

“We started the second half brightly, pressed them a bit higher up the pitch.

“Maybe in the 46th minute we could have had a penalty for handball.

“It looked clear and even one of their players was saying he couldn’t believe the referee didn’t see it.

“We were still in the game until Jermaine Beckford’s sending-off.

“Obviously, the red card and going down to 10 men made it difficult for us.

“From my angle, I didn’t see it properly and so I can’t really say anything about it.”

Vermijl was recalled to the starting XI against Leeds after a calf strain ruled Aiden McGeady out of contention.

McGeady had a late fitness test at lunchtime before the game but it was decided not to risk him.

For the first half, Vermijl played on the right hand side of midfield, then operated as a wing-back after the break as North End switched to 3-5-2.

They return to action on Saturday for the visit of Vermijl’s former club Sheffield Wednesday to Deepdale.

The 24-year-old says it is important that Preston respond in a positive manner to the Leeds setback.

“We will have to be more solid against Sheffield Wednesday,” said Vermijl.

“Our league position is still a positive one and we have a busy schedule of games.

“Three of the next four are at home and we have to look forward to that.”

Meanwhile, tickets for the visit to Aston Villa went on sale to season ticket holders, ambassadors and Premier members today.

Fans with 100 loyalty points have priority on Friday and Saturday, then those with 50 loyalty points can buy on January 3 and 4. General sale is on January 5.