John Roper's PNE fans' column

Preston North End went nap with a five-goal salvo and kept alive their play off hopes with this handsome win against lowly Bristol City.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 5th April 2017, 8:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:56 pm
Paul Gallagher and Jordan Hugill share a joke during the 5-0 demolition of Bristol City
Paul Gallagher and Jordan Hugill share a joke during the 5-0 demolition of Bristol City

Just one goal up at half-time, the Preston attacked demolished the Robins with four goals in the second half to leave the sparse Deepdale crowd of 10,224 purring with delight.

McGeady got the sponsor's man-of-the-match award on a night when any one of half a dozen players could have received the accolade but it was probably fitting that the man who made the first and scored the second was handed the honour.

Barkhuizen opened the scoring in the first half and McGeady made it two just after half-time from the penalty spot.

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A thumping Tom Clarke header from a pinpoint Gally corner put the game beyond the visitors before Robinson chipped in with two goals to round off a great evening and performance from a North End side back to its best.

North End started the game much quicker than of late and Hugill and Gallagher had chances to test Fielding in the Bristol goal early on.

McGeady was causing plenty of trouble down the left hand side with North End looking sharp and up for the game.

Bailey Wright started solidly on his return to Deepdale but the night was to turn very sour for him as the evening went on.

North End deservedly took the lead when McGeady plied some of his trickery down the left flank before putting the ball across for Barkhuizen to score for the sixth time in six games.

At the other end Bristol`s chances were few and far between but Chris Maxwell made an excellent save on the half hour from a header by Wright of all people and it was North End who held a slim but comfortable advantage going into the break.

The second half was only a minute old when Robinson worked his way into the box only to be fouled by Flint and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Up stepped McGeady and he smashed his penalty home even though Fielding got a hand to it the power was way too much and North End were two up.

It wasn't very long before it was three with a superb cross from Gallagher on the right finding the head of Tom Clarke and the North End skipper sent a thunderbolt of a header into the net to effectively end the game.

A Barkhuizen burst down the right saw the in form winger square the ball for Callum Robinson and North End were 4-0 up with plenty of time to go.

We want five, the crowd shouted, and they got it when Robinson picked up the ball from a McGeady cross and made it five from close range to finish off a great night for North End and a real shot in the arm for the goal difference to boot.

A great game and a great performance by North End and one which keeps the slim play off hopes alive as North End now sit five points behind Sheffield Wednesday with six games left to play.

Make no mistake we played some excellent football on Tuesday evening and I think that one of the most pleasing aspects from the manager's point of view is that we didn't concede a goal either.

It's odds against North End making the top six but it is certainly not impossible and on this form we just make one or two sit up and listen before this season draws to a close.

The fixtures don`t get any easier with a trip to Leeds on Saturday followed by a visit to Huddersfield on Good Friday but if we are to make it then we need to get something from both these games.

I have no doubt the manager will have the boys ready to go go when the bandwagon rolls into Elland Road on Saturday afternoon.