Brentford 5, PNE 0: Dave Seddon's verdict
How do you start trying to fathom this game out, one which Preston were well in for 75 minutes yet ended up being absolutely hammered?
At first glance, the 5-0 defeat suggests a sorry Lilywhites side being battered from start to finish by Brentford.
In a way, such a scenario might have been easier to get your head round – write it off as a bad day out in London and go again.
But for North End to have folded in the way they did, conceding three goals in less than four minutes during a shocking finale, was utterly bewildering.
They had lost Marnick Vermijl to a hamstring strain shortly before the collapse, leaving them a man shy after using all three substitutes.
If that was a contributing factor, it still should not be used as an excuse.
Teams have survived with 10 men before, reorganised and got on with the job.
To ship three goals, and three soft ones at that, poses plenty of questions.
Being brutually frank, all five goals could be described as being on the soft side.
That might sound a touch churlish towards Brentford and is not intended to lessen their victory in any way.
But did they not exactly have to carve PNE open with utter ruthlessness to secure the points.
Had the visitors taken the chances which came their way earlier in the game, all the talk of them imploding late on would simply not have been on the agenda.
Jordan Hugill, Vermijl, Eoin Doyle, Aiden McGeady and sub Simon Makienok, all had the opportunity to register their names on the scoresheet.
Until Brentford scored their second goal in the 74th minute, North End would have fancied their chances of getting a draw.
Even when trailing 2-0, they twice had sights of the home goal.
Yet within a few minutes, this trip south had turned into a game of capital punishment.
Heads dropped too easily and some of Preston’s play just opened the door for the hosts to waltz through.
Simon Grayson used the word ‘kamikaze’ to sum-up the last few minutes and that was very apt.
Kamikaze in the sense that they were left wide open by the desire to go and chase a game which was beyond them.
Enthusiasm I have no problem with, but in professional football it needs to be tailored properly.
Grayson got it in the neck afterwards – part and parcel of being the manager – and it is fair comment that some fans are not seeing eye-to-eye with the boss after a start to the season which has seen them lose six of their first eight league matches.
A change at the top is not on the club’s agenda though.
Post-match, Grayson used the word ‘responsibility’ a number of times, in terms of the players needing to take some.
Although results do fall at the manager’s feet, it is the team who have to do it out on the pitch.
Grayson sets the side up, chooses tactics and formation, and gives them the necessary information on the other team.
Once they cross the white line, no manager can hold his sides’ hand.
No manager coaches a player to cushion a header back towards his own box with an opposition striker lurking, no manager coaches a player to put through his own net, no manager coaches players to give opponents room to run unchecked into the penalty box.
Grayson will be judged on results – there has been progress every season of his tenure to date and so he has plenty of credit in the bank when it comes to judgement.
The players need to do their part too, this very much a collective responsibility.
This defeat was Preston’s heaviest since Wigan beat them by the same scoreline in December 2004.
With Grayson in charge, the biggest loss until the weekend was 3-0.
The one time North End had let in four under him was the 4-4 draw at Coventry three years ago.
Grayson’s men has arrived in London in good heart on the back of Tuesday night’s 3-0 win over Cardiff.
Early promise came from a Callum Robinson shot which struck Woods on the head and behind for a corner, then a Robinson cross picked out Hugill in the box only for his shot to be smothered by Dan Bentley in the Bees goal.
Brentford’s 35th minute opener came out of nothing really, the ball worked across midfield from the right before Romaine Sawyers slipped a pass between Tom Clarke and Vermijl, that freeing Scott HOGAN to slip a shot across Anders Lindegaard.
Doyle had a shot pushed past the near post by Bentley at the start of the second half, McGeady having set him up.
The home side’s second goal came 16 minutes from time, Josh McEachran’s deep corner finding an unmarked Hogan beyond the back post.
His nod back was touched into the path of Harlee DEAN who finished from six yards.
Vermijl was still hobbling round the pitch towards the tunnel when the late collapse started to play out.
Daniel Johnson’s header back towards the edge of the box was left by Clarke, giving HOGAN the opportunity to nip in, round the keeper and shoot home.
Bees sub Josh Clarke then sent a low cross into the box, one which Chris Humphrey could only divert into his own net as he tried to clear.
HOGAN completed the win and reddened Preston faces even more, firing a low shot past Anders Lindegaard – four minutes of madness giving the game a different complexion