Fan column: John Roper

First of all let me say that if Preston North End do not win another point this season and finish on 57 points then that will have exceeded the expectations of mine and many others and will have been a commendable season after promotion from League One.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 17th April 2016, 7:52 am
Updated Sunday, 17th April 2016, 8:57 am
Marnick Vermijl and Milton Keynes Dons' Dean Lewington
compete for the ball
Marnick Vermijl and Milton Keynes Dons' Dean Lewington compete for the ball

However, expectations have risen as the season has gone on culminating in the win at Ewood Park two weeks ago which lifted the players and fans alike but since then the season has started to fizzle out with just one point from three games and that against an MK Dons side destined for almost certain relegation.

North End scored early in the game and with a draw no good for the visitors the game was open but we just did not take advantage.

The manager decided to relegate Joe Garner to the bench but the North End talisman was to have a critical part to play in the proceedings later in the game. North End had the perfect start when Beckford was put through in the sixths minute and lifted the ball over the advancing Cropper in the Dons goal.

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It is no surprise that MK are near the foot of the table as their closing down was poor and I have seldom seen, this season, North End given as much space to play in as they had in this game.

Unfortunately we just could not make it count and I thought from an early stage in the game that we were just playing in third gear.

The two players that stood out in the first period were Bailey Wright and Ben Pearson but North Ends midfield line was all over the place and we were giving the visitors far too much of the ball in the centre of the park.

It was not really a surprise when MK equalised.But with nine minutes to go Doyle got through and was fouled by Cropper in the MK goal and surely our moment had come. Cropper off and a chance for Garner to win the game from the penalty spot.

All three subs had been used so Revell went in goal and saved Garners’ penalty diving to his left even though he had taken two strides before Garner kicked the ball.

There were some booing at the end of the game, which I thought was very harsh considering where the team are in the table.

We shouldn’t over react to one game or one result but on the back of two defeats, this is not what we expected and one point from nine might indicated that some at Deepdale think the job is done but it certainly isn’t done just yet.

What the watching Mr Trevor Hemmings thought of the game was anybody’s guess but let’s hope this was just a blip and the real North End appear Tuesday night at St Andrews.