Preston North End 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Dave Seddon's verdict on another clean sheet for Ryan Lowe's side

Ryan Lowe’s aim at Preston North End is to make them an entertaining, attacking side but it’s at the other end where they are catching the eye at the moment.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 8:00 am

The goalless draw with Nottingham Forest was a sixth clean sheet in the eight games, this a night when Daniel Iversen had the cigars out.

Only fleetingly did a Forest side who came to Deepdale having scored 16 goals in their previous eight matches, threaten to put their mark on proceedings.

North End had far the better of the contest, Lowe’s counterpart Steve Cooper the happier of the two managers with a point.

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Preston North End striker Cameron Archer gets behind the Nottingham Forest defence but shoots wide

Lowe should have had three points to celebrate on top of his pleasure at another shut-out.

The Lilywhites boss saw Cameron Archer put a shot wide of the target which you would have bet your mortgage on him tucking away.

Young Archer had scored four goals previously in a PNE shirt and half of Deepdale were already on their feet ready to celebrate and Brad Potts’ through ball played him clear in the box in the 57th minute.

His shot travelled just the wrong side of the post and everyone had to sit down again.

PNE skipper Alan Browne challenges Nottingham Forest defender Scott McKenna in the air at Deepdale

While this was a sixth home game without a win – five of them draws – there was no feeling of despondency from the Preston faithful at the final whistle. For a 0-0 this was a cracking watch, as good a goalless draw as you might expect.

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The fact that Forest in their garish away kit were limited to very little in an attacking sense, was no accident.

North End had identified the visitors’ threats and dealt with them.

North End's Sepp van den Berg protests his innocence as Nottingham Forest striker Keinan Davis claims a penalty at Deepdale

Andrew Hughes was assigned the left wing-back role to stop the talented Djed Spence doing damage down Forest’s right.

Potts stopped Max Lowe on the other side but his job didn’t stop there.

The right wing-back was excellent all evening, often the starting point for North End’s attack forays.

Four days earlier, Potts had been hooked after just 34 minutes of the Reading defeat as part of a tactical change.

He responded this time with a high-energy display, worthy of man of the match in many people’s eyes.

Hughes wasn’t far behind him, so too Liam Lindsay who was excellent at the back.

Lindsay played on the left side of the back three, that allowing Hughes’ move out to the wing-back slot.

Hughes was to move back inside and Lindsay shuffled across one to the middle when Patrick Bauer limped off early in the second half.

Losing the big German could have knocked North End but it didn’t.

This performance was the response Lowe wanted to the Reading defeat.

Three goals shipped in that game was uncharacteristic of his side, the first conceded with barely a minute again.

To see the back door kept firmly shut this time pleased Lowe no end.

‘Chalk and cheese’ was how he compared Saturday afternoon to Tuesday night.

The gap between PNE and the play-offs has widened these last few days, leaving them with plenty of work to do over the next 12 games.

If the top six is to prove beyond reach, the aim is to finish strongly and have more of what we saw the other evening rather than what was served up against Reading.

Forest were on top for the first 10 minutes or so and might have had a penalty when Keinan Davis – who like Archer has been loaned out by Aston Villa – tumbled under Sepp van den Berg’s challenge.

Referee Geoff Eltringham didn’t see enough wrong with the Dutchman’s actions and waved play on.

Cue PNE getting on top and largely staying there. Hughes twice had chances in the first half, the first a volley which Ryan Yates blocked, the second a header which hit the turf and bounced up and over.

Archer’s big chance came a couple of minutes after Forest goalkeeper Ethan Horvath had dived to parry a shot from him.

Another chance in slightly different circumstances saw an attempted cross from Archer clip a defender and drop just the wrong side of the far post.