Alex Neil disappointed as PNE slip up against Brentford

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Preston North End boss Alex Neil felt a 'patchy' game against Brentford could have gone either way.

The Lilywhites were beaten 3-2 by the Bees at Deepdale, too many of the home side producing below-par performances.

Alex Neil

Alex Neil

Twice they had netted equalisers through Sean Maguire and Tom Barkhuizen after Brentford had gone in front.

But when Ollie Watkins scored the London outfit's third goal, North End didn't have an answer.

Neil said: "I thought the game was patchy, I didn't think there was any one team that was dominant through the 90 minutes.

"We started the game really well and then after 15 minutes Brentford came into the game and had a good spell.

Sean Maguire scores PNE's first equaliser

Sean Maguire scores PNE's first equaliser

"They managed to score and then once we got our equaliser, I thought we finished the first half well.

"Equally, I thought we started the second half well again and they came into the match and got their goal.

"We then got the equaliser again and I thought we dominant throughout that spell.

"The frustrating thing was that when we went 2-2, we were the team in the ascendancy and forcing the issue, trying to get the next goal.

"But we got caught with a sloppy goal to make it 2-3.

"Both teams had spells when they were on top but unfortunately for us, Brentford scored more goals than us when they were on top."

North End were missing Ben Davies from the back four after the defender underwent surgery to remove his appendix on the morning of the game.

Calum Woods was preferred ahead of Andy Boyle in the centre defence as Davies' replacement.

With Tommy Spurr set to miss the next few months with a knee injury which has needed surgery and Paul Huntington picking up a fifth yellow card which will rule him out of the Aston Villa game on Wednesday night, the defence is stretched.

Neil said: "Ben has had to have his appendix out, that operation happened today so he will be out for a couple of weeks.

"Tommy Spurr has had surgery on his knee to fix that and is going to be out for a few months.

"We've got Greg Cunningham and Tom Clarke out with long-term injuries..

"To lose three centre-backs and a left-back is highly unusual.

"Paul Huntington is now going to be suspended for Wednesday, these are not excuses, they are facts."