Fans’ sense of apathy is a huge concern for PNE: Four things we learned from Preston North End’s defeat by Cardiff City
Preston suffered a second league defeat in a row on Saturday as they lost 2-1 to Cardiff City.
Sean Maguire had given the Lilywhites the lead inside the opening 90 seconds before Mark McGuinnes and James Collins netted for the Welsh visitors.
TOM SANDELLS looks at four talking points from the game.
1. Game of two halves.
Even though it is a huge cliche, it was a game of two contrasting halves at Deepdale.
North End were the better side in the first half and deservedly took a lead into the break.
They were not spectacular and Cardiff were not blown away but they were under little pressure, and the visitors didn’t really test Daniel Iversen at all.
The opposite was true in the second half, Ryan Ledson’s volley from the edge of the box the only Preston effort of note.
Meanwhile, Cardiff turned the game on its head and also hit the post.
Why PNE could not keep them at bay once again in the second half is a problem the coaching staff will have to solve, as will be why the attacking threat all but vanished.
2. No creativity.
North End do not really have a single player in their squad capable of conjuring something out of nothing, an individualist with natural spark, in the way that Aiden McGeady or Callum Robinson did in previous years.
They rely on their industry and their legs.
Technically, PNE can get found out. When presented with a task of being creative they generally struggle.
Another issue in amongst the lack of spark was how many PNE players were spectating. Too many times they would see a team-mate in possession and stand still, waiting.
An arm in the air does very little for the man on the ball and is very easy to mark.
There is growing anger and resentment towards North End’s current plight, but growing quicker and more alarmingly is the sense of apathy. PNE fans are giving up. They feel they have little to be enthusiastic about and are not enjoying watching their side.
The Lilywhites’ faithful are drained – and their side have only been back for 90 minutes since the international break.
4. Boro trip.
Thankfully for Frankie McAvoy and the players they have a chance to show more of what they’re made of on Tuesday night.
They travel to Middlesbrough and need to put things right.
They must perform for 90 minutes and, however many PNE fans do choose to go, there must be a performance for them.
There are two more games to come this week – it’s started off poorly but North End can still turn it around.
But it is a long way to go to the North East in midweek and they must deliver for their supporters.