Perhaps more of a surprise was how well Johnson reacted in this unfamiliar territory, rounding off a man-of-the-match performance with a brace of quality goals; the second one in particular catching the eye and lifting our hearts early in the second half.
With Barnsley already relegated, the opening stages felt comfortable for the Lilywhites and so it was something of a surprise that the hosts took the lead inside the first 20 minutes.
However, the skill shown by the Tykes forward in keeping the ball in play was impressive and caught out Liam Lindsay in the build up to the assist and opening goal. Preston responded to the setback within five minutes, as Johnson opened his account from inside the left-hand side of the box with a fine strike across the keeper from a good Emil Riis pass.
The second half continued with North End in the ascendency and within 10 minutes Johnson curled in that peach of a goal after good work by Brad Potts and Alan Browne.
It was another left footed shot from inside the left-hand side of the penalty area, but this time delivered with a cultured stroke of the ball with his instep to take it beyond the keeper.
The win was sealed by an EmilRiis goal from a very tight angle after rounding the keeper. I must say that the young Dane seems to be better at scoring from difficult chances, having missed a much easier one a few minutes earlier.
Yes it’s a puzzle, but this his 19th goal of the season is a decent return for a player with time on his side.
Further smiles ensued all around me in the last fifteen minutes or so with the introduction of teenager Mikey O’Neill from the bench. He looked assured, nearly scored and showed a wonderful turn of pace and skill to put in fellow substitute Sean Maguire for a chance.