Dave Seddon's Preston North End Press View: Victory against Blackpool will be savoured for months to come

The first question of Thursday morning’s press conference came from Ryan Lowe, something of a role reversal.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 8th April 2022, 4:45 pm

‘Have you lot come down yet’? enquired a smiling Lowe of three of the journalists in the room, all of who are of a Preston North End persuasion.

Silly question really. The highs of Tuesday night’s 1-0 win over Blackpool will continue to be felt for weeks, if not months to come.

Not only by that trio of reporters in the Euxton media room but by more than 16,500 North Enders who were at Deepdale for the derby.

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Hands up who struggled to sleep once they got home from the game. I thought so.

It was pushing 3am when I went to bed on Wednesday morning, partly due to sitting up writing about the game for the paper and website, partly due to playing back parts of the game with the help of social media.

I doubt I was alone in re-running Cameron Archer’s winner in forensic detail, of watching Brad Potts’ celebrations, grinning from ear to ear when watching the clip of Greg Cunningham winning a throw-in and celebrating it like a goal.

Tuesday night into Wednesday morning was a celebration, the end of five months playing second fiddle to those down the M55.

Preston North End fans in the Town End with a giant Sir Tom Finney surfer flag

The reverse fixture at Bloomfield Road in October had been nothing short of a disaster, a 2-0 defeat, a tame display and plenty of issues outside the ground for the PNE fans to contend with.

This week was very much about redemption but with the worry that North End weren’t exactly going into the game on top note.

Three away games in the weeks before had yielded one point, no goals and two defeats. In the background was the takeover talk which hit a brick wall a few days earlier.

Every credit then to Ryan Lowe and his players that they dusted themselves down and served-up an evening’s entertainment under the lights which won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Preston North End celebrate Cameron Archer's goal against Blackpool

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They got so much right on the night, the victory narrow in terms of the scoreline but fully deserved.

Blackpool were kept at arms’ length to the extent they didn’t muster an effort on target. In the first half PNE attacked well and were rather unfortunate not to have scored sooner than they did.

Andrew Hughes sent a header against the bar, Potts saw a cross deflect off the Blackpool left-back’s boot and hit the bar, Alan Browne on course to meet the rebound until both feet went from under him on the slick playing surface.

Preston North End goalkeeper Daniel Iversen in front of the PNE fans at Deepdale

Archer’s winner was a delight – Potts found Emil Riis who drove up field on the counter and switched play from right to left with a fine pass.

it was met with a touch from Archer to steady himself and then a low finish of the highest order, through the legs of the covering Kenny Dougall which meant Chris Maxwell didn’t see it was too late.

Cue bedlam in three-and-a-half stands as the ball nestled in the back of the Blackpool net.

The North End faithful were very much part of the victory. In terms of atmosphere, you might be going back to the 2001 play-off semi-final against Birmingham City to find a match.

It wasn’t just small pockets of fans dotted around the ground singing, it was the whole place. The two giant surfer flags looked terrific as they were passed over heads.

The night was loud, raucous, there was tension, excitement, anticipation. It was a throw back almost.

There were aspects which weren’t so great, things thrown on the Bill Shankly Kop, a couple of pitch invaders.

PNE manager Lowe got his selection right, Greg Cunningham’s return at left wing-back so crucial.

Lowe had a refreshed Potts on the other side of the pitch, held back on the bench at Derby in the game before.

He stuck with the midfield three of Ben Whiteman, Daniel Johnson and Browne, a combination he could quite easily have changed on the back of previous results.

Archer and Riis linked well up front, Ched Evans’ absence with a toe injury meaning the attack picked itself.

The back three were excellent, Patrick Bauer especially good at the heart of it.

I mentioned higher up the takeover talk which had developed into something of a saga before hitting the rocks four days before Blackpool.

Chris Kirchner came and went, now he’s got preferred bidder status at Derby County, the club it looks like he wanted to buy all along.

I’ve no doubt he was serious about buying PNE, agreeing a price with the Hemmings family in February.

However, he was to row back from that offer during the due diligence process and subsequently made two lower offers, the second of those effectively calling a halt to any negotiations.

For some North End fans, Kirchner’s interest was exciting, a chance for change. Others were uncomfortable with it, doubting whether the American was the right fit to be the new owner.

Was there too much talk from him on Twitter rather than action? We will all have our own views on it and it will be interesting how his attempt to buy Derby from their administrators pans out.

If he does get a deal over the line, how much will he invest there? Would he have ploughed similar into the PNE coffers? Time will tell.

Kirchner is no longer part of the equation at Deepdale. Ryan Lowe can plan ahead knowing who his paymasters are rather than it being a case of either or. With work on the squad to be done, it will be an interesting summer.