Four talking points from Preston North End's FA Cup defeat to Cardiff City

Preston North End went all the way against Cardiff City on Sunday but ultimately came up short as they lost 2-1 after extra time to be knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round.

By Tom Sandells
Monday, 10th January 2022, 12:30 pm

Isaak Davies opened the scoring for Cardiff in the first half before Daniel Johnson netted a leveller from the spot after the interval.

After 115 minutes, Mark Harris scored the winner sending the Welsh side into the fourth round to meet ----

Here are four talking points from the clash in Wales.

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Johs Harrop in action against Cardiff City.

1. Out of the cup.

It is obvious, but PNE are out of the FA Cup and were not involved in the draw for the fourth round shortly after their game ended.

It’s always a huge shame to be excluded from the draws as there is so much more excitement around it when your team is involved.

Unfortunately for the Lilywhites who did watch the draw, they will have seen Cardiff drawn away to Liverpool. What might have been...

2. Slack defending.

PNE are not out of the FA Cup because of a fine Cardiff display, it was not even a fine game – many viewers were wishing for the final whistle before it arrived as neither side could get any sort of a rhythm.

There were two big moments where the Lilywhites left themselves open and exposed at the back.

First Sepp van den Berg failed to control an interception which saw Isaak Davies run at the defence where he skipped past Patrick Bauer all too easily and Daniel Iversen could not keep the ball out, although it was aimed right at him.

The Dutchman lost the ball in the second half of extra time and the Bluebirds broke with three lining up willing to turn the ball home.

It is not about laying into the young loanee who has been excellent since arriving.

But both goals were avoidable, either from the initial loss of possession or from positioning afterwards.

3. Focus turns to the league.

They have little choice, but attention is now firmly on the Championship for PNE.

They have much work to do, early signs under Ryan Lowe have been promising and the play-offs are nine points away.

The top six will always be the aim for this side and it isn’t an insurmountable gap.

4. Josh Harrop.

In amongst the three goals and penalty shout at the death there was one substitution that caught the eye, the return of Josh Harrop in a PNE shirt.

It was North End’s no.10’s first appearance in over a year, his last coming on December 29 2020.

He did not steal the show but it does prove that Lowe is willing to give everyone a clean slate and everyone will get their chance to prove themselves.

Harrop and his agent have spoken to the new boss to assess their position and he will be involved in the coming weeks – it’s a huge chance for him to reinvent himself at Deepdale.

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