Four Preston North End talking points as Barnsley are brushed aside

Preston North End secured a 3-1 win over already relegated Barnsley on Saturday, despite being a goal behind.

By Tom Sandells
Sunday, 1st May 2022, 12:30 pm

Aiden Marsh put the hosts ahead inside 20 minutes thanks to slack defending from PNE but Daniel Johnson had the Lilywhites level shortly after with his first of two precise finishes.

His second came in the second half, finding the top corner. Emil Riis rounded off the scoring, netting from a narrow angle.

Here are four talking points from the game.

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Preston North End's Daniel Johnson celebrates scoring his side's second goal.

1. Gentry Day

Regardless of the points, it is always important that Gentry Day is carried out in the spirit of the Gentry and that all continue the memory of North End fans that have come before, and sadly, are no longer with us.

Suited up and donning bowler hats, the Gentry will travel in their numbers for the designated game that changes each season to respectfully honour those who have passed away.

That is a message that was made clear to Barnsley and South Yorkshire Police, though they didn’t act like it.

Nevertheless, the Gentry were impeccable. Backing their side and causing no trouble. They were treated to a fine North End display, three points and the Lilywhites all donning bowler hats of their own at full time.

2. Do me a favour?

Daniel Johnson was a star performer on the day, as he often is in a PNE shirt, but when that is said it could easily be assumed he is running things from the centre of midfield.

Instead, over breakfast, Ryan Lowe asked his vice captain if he would do him a favour, and that was to play at left wing back.

The energy of the Jamaican can never be in question, he is often up there with the most ground covered for Preston but whether he could impact the game the same remained to be seen.

In short, he did. Both wing backs were excellent outlets and Johnson capped his day with two very well taken goals.

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3. Ali McCann

Probably the most requested change to the start XI over recent months has been the inclusion of Ali McCann. The Northern Ireland international has had to be patient as the competition in the middle of midfield is fierce.

When named alongside Johnson, Alan Browne and Ben Whiteman is was first assumed he would be at wing back but that instead fell to the former, with McCann shining in midfield.

He doesn’t do anything particularly flashy, but he is neat in possession, his first touch is good and he makes important tackles. His engine is impressive and he just plays the game in a simple way, something that will go down well with Lowe as he implores his players to keep things simple.

4. Mikey O'Neill

With PNE three goals to the good, Lowe turned to his bench and summoned 17-year-old Mikey O’Neill for his second PNE appearance.

Having got just a handful of minutes at home against QPR, this time the Liverpudlian was able to get a quarter of an hour in, altogether.

He showed glimpses of the quality that has been setting him apart in the youth and reserve teams and could have had a goal and assist on another day.

Hopefully there is more to come against Middlesbrough next week.