Fans’ Panel’s Tim Mercer hails Scott Sinclair and Declan Rudd’s performances in Preston North End’s win against Bristol City

A fine display between the sticks by Declan Rudd ensured both a clean sheet and haul of three precious home points for only the second time this season.

Sunday, 20th December 2020, 12:30 pm

Having watched North End through so many ups and downs over the years, this fan was starting to feel somewhat anxious as we approached this last game before the busy festive period.

The way you come out of December and into the New Year tends to set the tone for the remainder of the season and going into this match, it felt like the slope towards the bottom end was starting to become a little slippery.

With a whole (and rare) eight days before the next lot of fixture congestion, this was a welcome and much needed Deepdale boost under the Friday night eyes of Sky coverage.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

North End’s Scott Sinclair and Bristol City’s Tyreeq Bakinson

Preston started brightly enough, with Scott Sinclair looking the most dangerous in the opening phase.

In my view this player is now starting to show the class he undoubtedly has from playing at a higher level and is looking like a good piece of business from the last January transfer window.

He won the penalty that led to the only goal of the match. For me, even a small trip on a player flying at pace across the box gives cause for a decision to be made and it yet again had opposition fans up in arms in the social media aftermath.

In our defence, I would simply point out the unrest seems to originate from ‘little Preston’ getting above themselves for ever dreaming of challenging for a play-off place; and I will leave it there.

With the penalty converted by Daniel Johnson, the game went into the second half with the visitors changing formation and bringing on two substitutes at the restart.

To be fair, the Robins did get into the game and created some decent opportunities leading to fine strikes on goal.

Rudd met the challenge with at least two of his saves being of matching quality and a good advert for this level of football.