John Roper's PNE verdict

A 'Hull' of a result for Preston North End as we collected all three points on our travels to the KCOM and recorded our first win in this year's City of Culture for 25 years.

Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 9:46 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd October 2017, 3:26 pm
Callum Robinson after scoring PNE's winner

I bet Messrs Ashcroft, Cartwright and Ellis (goalscorers on our last league win in Hull) didn`t imagine it would be a quarter of a century before Messrs Barkhuizen and Robinson raised the Preston colours once more.

I thought this was a decent game particularly in the second half and whilst the home side had a couple of good spells in the second period you would be hard pushed to say that North End didn`t deserve this victory.

Even with the pressure on we didn`t capitulate and our fearless play finally brought the rewards just two minutes from time when Callum Robinson nodded home Daryl Horgan`s pinpoint cross.

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Preston supporters at the KCON Stadium

It sent the 1,100 travelling fans into joyous rapture and was reward for them who had backed the team so loud and so vocally all evening.

I was really expecting the home side to come at us right from the start but North End took the game to the Tigers.

The one over-riding aspect of North End`s play under Alex Neil is that we now play with no fear and nowhere has that been more apparent than at the KCOM.

After a somewhat tetchy first half hour North End took the lead and it was that man Barkhuizen who slotted home after his cross had been headed back across the goal by captain fantastic, Paul Huntington.

Alex Neil shakes hands with Hull head coach Leonid Slutsky

I thought that the centre-back and right-back, Darnell Fisher, were outstanding on the evening ably assisted by the fast improving Josh Earl and Ben Davies.

For a makeshift defence they have been fantastic all season conceding just four goals, one of which was a penalty.

After the break the home side took the bull by the horns and the only bit of poor defending on the evening saw the Tigers level when Frazier Campbell headed the ball across the North End goal for Jarrod Bowen to tap in from close range.

We went straight down the other end and it was Jordan Hugill who headed narrowly wide when it looked easier to put the bal into the net.

Preston supporters at the KCON Stadium

North End introduced Josh Harrop, Robinson and Horgan as we went for a winner with pace against the tiring Hull defence.

Hull had another good spell though and hit the bar with about ten minutes to go as the travelling fans held their breath.

North End kept going though and several times broke through until, finally, in the 88th minute Horgan got down the right hand side and put a peach of a ball over for Robinson who gleefully nodded home the winner.

The away end went balistic and the points were on their way back across the M62 after a very memorable night in Humberside.

Alex Neil shakes hands with Hull head coach Leonid Slutsky

Well, the league table makes very good reading after this win as North End sit just four behind the leaders with ten games gone.

The most pleasing thing about this win was the manner in which it was achieved with a never-say-die attitude and this fearless approach that is becoming the trademark of the team.

Neil believes he can win every game and there is no doubt that this philosophy is rubbing off on the players and, dare I say it, some of the fans as well.

This squad has nowhere near peaked yet and I can only see it getting better but for now we can just have a little bit of self indulgence and take a slight peak at the Championship table.

One thing is for sure and that is if these sorts of performances don`t put another couple of thousand on the crowd then I honestly don`t know what will.