Fan’s Panel’s John Roper says weary-looking Preston North End just did enough

A beacon of light on a dark, cold Cambridgeshire afternoon was the difference between relegation threatened Peterborough and Ryan Lowe’s Preston North End.

By John Roper
Sunday, 13th February 2022, 12:30 pm

The winning goal from Cameron Archer 10 minutes from time was the once piece of high quality football on an afternoon when chances were at a premium.

The pitch was very bobbly and the wind blowing across the Weston Homes Stadium didn’t help matters either, but in all honesty North End were sloppy in their passing and some of the lads out there were running on empty after this nine-game run in 28 days.

The first half was poor with both sides struggling to get the ball down and play and after the break the home side did better hitting the bar from a long range free kick. However it was the boy wonder on loan from Aston Villa who ignited the travelling 1,020 North End fans with a touch of class good enough to win any game.

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North End’s Josh Earl battling with Peterborough United’s Nathan Thompson

The manager made two changes from the side who drew with Huddersfield Town on Wednesday evening with Josh Earl coming in for Greg Cunningham and Emil Riis replacing Ched Evans up front.

PNE’s best effort of an instantly forgettable first half was a cross from Andrew Hughes that went over the keeper and hit the top of the crossbar.

North End had a blocked shot from Johnson on the half-hour but it was the home side who looked the more likely with three half chances, two of which were comfortably saved by Iversen. No changes for North End at half-time as the temperature dropped a few degrees as did the standard of the football as far as we were concerned.

Fair play to the home side as they tried to take the game to North End and did look a threat down the left-hand side on occasions.

Posh had the best chance of the game with a one-on-one 10 minutes into the second half but Daniel Iversen’s legs saved Preston as they have done on several occasions this season. Evans was introduced for Riis and a few minutes later Sinclair replaced Earl on the left.

North End played their final card bringing Ryan Ledson on for Whiteman and four minutes later the game was won. Browne collected the ball from Browne and cut inside past a defender before hitting a peach of a left-foot curler past Benda and into the net.

The most glaringly obvious observation on this game is that the quality of Cameron Archer’s finishing was the difference between the sides. Peterborough looked like a typical hard working bottom three side with bags of effort but not too much quality in their ranks.

North End looking clearly ahead on paper but not adapting particularly well to the conditions and looking leg-weary from a punishing run of games in the Championship.

Mind you it is often said that the sign of a good team is playing badly and winning and that is what North End did on Saturday.

Five wins, five draws and 
just one defeat at Swansea from 11 league games means 20 points on the board 
and a very good start to the Ryan Lowe era in anybody’s book.