Fans’ Panel’s John Roper cheered by Preston North End’s performance against Nottingham Forest

A winning draw for North End at home to high-flying Nottingham Forest but only a point gained in a game where we really should have taken all three.

By John Roper
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 8:00 am

No doubt that Ryan Lowe will be proud of his charges after PNE clearly had the better of things in a game that started at a very quick pace.

Gone was the sloppy passing and poor defending we saw on Saturday against Reading as North End fought and won almost every battle against their opponents from the City Ground, but just failed to put away the couple of clear-cut chances that they had.

Preston grew into this game and after being the slightly better side in the first 45 minutes they were much the better side in the second half, of a game I really enjoyed watching.

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Brad Potts in action with Nottingham Forest's Scott McKenna

Cameron Archer probably had North End’s best two chances but the young striker didn’t make them count on this occasion as we had to settle for one point instead of three.

Just two changes for North End from the team that started against the Royals, with Liam Lindsay coming in for Scott Sinclair and Ched Evans once again rotating with Emil Riis up front.

The game started at breakneck speed with both sides trying to gain the initiative.

It was North End who had the first real attempt when a curling shot from Evans went over the bar on the quarter hour.

Hughes then had a good header for Preston as we started to take the game to the visitors.

At the other end Forest did manage a shot just before the half hour but it was straight at Iversen and easily saved.

North End continued to look the more likely and Alan Browne had a low shot saved by the Forest keeper as both sides rallied before the interval.

Neither could break the deadlock and the teams went in level at half time in what had been a very decent first half.

No changes for either side at the break but Patrick Bauer had been limping a little towards the end of the first half and was eventually replaced after 53 minutes with Josh Earl coming on for Bauer, and Andrew Hughes moving from left wing-back to left centre back to accommodate Earl.

It was North End who had the first chance to take the lead when Archer was put through in the inside-right position, only for Horvath in the Forest goal to get his angles just right and save the shot from the Villa loanee.

Archer then had an even better chance as he was put through in the centre-forward position and although his shot beat the keeper it went agonisingly wide of the keeper’s left-hand post and Forest were off the hook.

Much as we tried we just couldn’t create another golden chance and we had to settle for a point on a night when we really should have had three.

So very much a case of what might have been for Preston on an evening when we put up a very good performance against a very decent Forest side.

This was much better than what was served up on Saturday and although you can normally rely on Archer to finish, it just didn’t happen for him on this occasion.

North End were sharper to the ball and very positive in all that they did and if Ryan Lowe wanted a reaction after the disappointment of Saturday against Reading then he certainly got one against Forest.

Home form has not been brilliant in recent weeks but in performance terms I think this is as good as we have seen from North End at Deepdale under the new manager, and if the boys can reproduce this sort of performance more often then the home wins will surely come.

Meantime it’s off to the Midlands on Saturday and a big do at Coventry as the Lowe bandwagon marches on with, hopefully, a 2,800 following from Deepdale.