The FOUR talking points from PNE's draw with Reading

Preston North End got out of jail at the end of their 0-0 draw with Reading yesterday, as Lucas Joao missed a penalty.

By Tom Sandells
Monday, 25th January 2021, 12:30 pm

There was less than 10 minutes on the clock when the Portuguese striker was pulled down by Joe Rafferty but he failed to convert a decider in an otherwise even game.

Here are four talking points from the game...

1. Welcome to Deepdale.

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Daniel Iversen warming up before the game against Reading.

Prior to the draw in PR1, North End named three home debutants.

Daniel Iversen, Ben Whiteman and Jayson Molumby all started at Deepdale for the first time.

In part, it’s a sign of the times and the new direction the midfield is going.

Though it looks increasingly likely that Daniel Johnson will be staying at PNE, Molumby has stepped into the no.10 role well in recent weeks.

Ben Whiteman may be the more immediate heir to Paul Gallagher’s throne and also plugs a gap left by Ben Pearson.

Though Iversen’s future may not necessarily lie at Deepdale, with Declan Rudd having a very good season until his injury, it is a lot of change.

Add to that a fourth home debut in Ched Evans coming off the bench before the end and there is a lot of gelling still be done in the PNE squad.

Molumby and Whiteman have shown so far that they slot in quite well in the PNE midfield, but they both still need to learn the games of those around them.

There’s still a long way to go in the season and a draw against fifth in the table is a decent barometer of the level that North End could easily aim for.

2. Got away with one.

Despite a handful of good performances on the day, in the end, PNE were lucky to come away from Deepdale with something from the game.

Though they were good value for the draw, as they created little, a Lucas Joao penalty 10 minutes from time would likely have been all she wrote. Fortunately for Preston the striker dragged his penalty wide.

It is a good point against a side that is still pushing for the automatic promotion places, which totals four points from the two games the sides have played out, but PNE got their share of fortune.

3. Wanted: goals.

It felt as though PNE could keep playing all day and were unlikely to score.

Though they started the game brightly and were comfortable in possession throughout the game, it all seems to dry up as they enter the final third.

North End are a very combative side that will match any team for effort, that can go a long way in defending and winning the mdifeld battle.

But that sort of attrition seems to leave PNE with few ideas when presented with opportunities to be creative.

The wide players were bystanders for the majority of the contest and Emil Riis faded the longer the game wore on.

That attrition can lead to tired legs, which isn’t very conducive to a free-flowing- fast-paced attacking line, but more answers must be found in the final third.

Especially at home when teams are more in need of being broken down, the Lilywhites can take a few more risks.

4. Defence doing their bit.

Though goals aren’t easy to come by, clean sheets are at the moment.

Ben Davies and Daniel Iversen both impressed in particular and though the latter has been here only for two of them, it’s five clean sheets in seven now for Alex Neil’s side.

There is a strong foundation to build from for PNE but as showed with the penalty, it can sometimes only take a moment for all of that hard work to count for nothing.

They need the pressure easing from the other end of the pitch. Players will make mistakes but without goals the North End defence is having to be near faultless, and to their credit they very nearly have been.

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