The 4 talking points from Preston North End's 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest

Preston North End could count themselves a bit unfortunate as they drew 1-1 at home to Nottingham Forest.

Saturday, 11th July 2020, 7:30 pm

The home side conceded an early penalty to give the away side the lead as Lewis Grabban tucked the penalty away before Jayden Stockley turned Brad Potts’ cross home.

Here are four talking points from the game.

1. Another change of shape.

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Jayden Stockley celebrates scoring at Deepdale.

After such a good performance in the week from PNE, many were hoping that the 3-5-2 would live on.

Instead, Alex Neil opted for a flat 4-4-2, opposed to the diamond variant that was used at Barnsley.

It’s fair to say that it worked well for them, they created chances and as we’ve said many times this season, on another day the scoreline could have looked much different.

Stockley was deployed down the centre, one of four changes to the starting XI with Sean Maguire and he caused trouble throughout.

Chances fell the way of Tom Barkhuizen, Brad Potts and Pat Bauer, from a corner, but all were well blocked by a dogged Forest defence.

The big concern for PNE is that both Ben Davies and Ben Pearson had to be replaced due to injury.

2. Stockley scores again.

As mentioned, Stockley was a nuisance throughout the game before he was taken off late on, this time getting his chance from the off.

It was a lovely near post run combined with a smart finish that brought him his second in as many games.

Though they are coming thick and fast, Stockley has been crying out for a run of games and this may be his chance to capitalise on it.

3. The back door.

Although Saturday’s goal came from a soft penalty, it’s another home game where PNE have conceded.

However they go in, it is still an issue that North End have had to score at least twice in each of their last 20 games in all competitions in order to win at home.

The Forest game was a good showing of the PNE backline, as was Sheffield Wednesday in the week, and the defence certainly isn’t lacking in quality.

But it’s those small margins that can sometimes make a lot of difference.

There have been six games at Deepdale this season that were decided by one goal or were drawn.

4. Three wins needed.

It’s now looking like PNE will have to win all three of their remaining games if they are to make it to the play-offs.

They sit two points off the pace with Swansea City above them in seventh.

Brentford in the week is as big a test as anyone will have had this season but a nine-year drought for a win at Griffin Park may need to end.

In theory, just one win is needed but the chances of both Cardiff City and Swansea both loses their remaining three games are slim to none.