PNE Fans' Panel: John Smith's verdict

Brad Potts scores the fourth Preston goal (photo: Getty Images)Brad Potts scores the fourth Preston goal (photo: Getty Images)
Brad Potts scores the fourth Preston goal (photo: Getty Images)
It seems a lifetime away since we opened this season's campaign with a win against Rangers.

In hindsight the heady optimism of many fans around Deepdale on that sunny August afternoon has proved to be a touch over-ambitious and we went into the reverse fixture in West London looking downwards at the league table as opposed to upwards.

Last season I felt we punched above our weight a bit but this term I think the division has become stronger with the big hitters spending heavily. That factor, along with long-term injuries to several of our key players, has made the Championship much harder for us to compete in this season and as a consequence we have struggled to equal the dizzy heights of last season.

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Before the game I expected a prickly time at the tight old fashioned ground situated in the middle of Shepherd’s Bush but after new boy Jayden Stockley paid the first chunk of his transfer fee off by firing us in front we never looked back and ended up chalking up our biggest away league win of the season.

The home side had a period of pressure during a period just before and after half-time but in the main we were the far more dominant side and fully deserved the win.

On the ground which was once graced by Rodney Marsh and Stan Bowles it was our own flamboyant character Ben Pearson who stole the show with an outstanding display in the middle of the park.

Pearson was supported well by Brad Potts who, along with Alan Browne and Paul Gallagher, played some fine flowing football and the intricate passing movements produced by this quartet were a joy to watch which lead to repeated chants of “Ole, ole” from the delighted and very vocal travelling support .

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If this standard of football can be reproduced in the derby games at Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan they will have even more to cheer about but for now this game is in pole position for the best road trip of the season.