Fans’ Panel’s John Roper is disappointed as Preston North End ran out of steam at Millwall

Just as North End looked to have secured a good point down in the capital, a mistake by Daniel Iversen allowed Bennett to head the ball over him and into the net to give the Lions all three points.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 8:00 am

Millwall will probably feel like they should have won the game on the strength of a dominant second-half performance with PNE showing little up front.

The first half had seen two excellent goals to send in the teams level in a scrappy but well-fought affair.

After the break I thought we started to go tired quite early and as the half wore on the chances were starting to fall the way of the home side.

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Preston North End’s Sepp van den Berg and Millwall’s Scott Malone

In all honesty Millwall were more physical than North End and were stronger on the ball.

Alex Neil tried to shuffle it around with his subs but they were pretty ineffective on an evening when North End eventually ran out of steam after three games in six days and paid the ultimate price.

There was just one change for Preston to the side that so convincingly beat Huddersfield on Saturday, with Jayson Molumby coming in for Alan Browne who was ruled out with a knock.

North End, in all green, were the first to have an attempt when a Whiteman free-kick came to nothing.

However just 12 minutes in North End took the lead via a fantastic strike from Ched Evans, the ball dropping to him on the edge of the Millwall box and the striker firing home an absolute belter.

The game became very attritional for a period in the middle of the first half but it was the home side who were starting to get on top.

Van den Berg blocked a shot but six minutes from the break Millwall were level when a wide open right hand side allowed Malone to charge forward and smash a beauty past Iversen to level up the scores.

It hadn’t been a riveting first half but the two goals certainly lit up proceedings and reflected a pretty fair scoreline at the break.

The second half started like the first with North End having the first effort via Hughes who shot tamely wide from a corner.

Molumby was booked for a professional foul and on the hour mark Barkhuizen replaced the out-of-sorts Anthony Gordon.

Although Barky gave us an outlet on the left, from here on in it was really all about the home side and if they could get the winner.

Firstly there was a header straight at Iversen then Millwall hit the bar after Hughes lost the ball on the left.

A Wallace shot was followed by a Malone shot as North End struggled to contain Millwall.

Johnson came on for Sinclair with 10 minutes to go but had little influence in the game.

With four minutes left the ball was played forward and Iversen hesitated on whether to come or stay.

By the time he had made up his mind to come Bennett headed the ball over Iversen and into the net.

A rare mistake by the Dane but a costly one all the same.

Riis was a late sub for Potts but PNE couldn’t find a way back and had to make the long journey home with nothing.

So Preston suffer their first defeat in London this season and any thoughts of the play-offs now seem a long way away.

This just looked like a game too far for one or two of the lads, particularly the younger players.

It would have been a point well won as we were decidedly second best in the second half and really struggled to find any structure to our game particularly in the final third.

No doubt the manager will cop a bit of flak but I just thought there wasn’t enough petrol in the tank to last the 90 minutes.

The back four did okay and it was a thunderbolt shot and a mistake by the keeper that gave the home side the goals.

I thought we missed Alan Browne in midfield and the cover in front of both our full-backs wasn’t brilliant as was shown by the first goal.

One of those games that won’t live long in the memory but disappointing to lose with a goal four minutes from time.

Onwards and upwards for Saturday as we welcome Bournemouth and Ben Pearson back to Deepdale.