Four things we learned from Preston North End’s defeat at Nottingham Forest
Preston North End failed to live up to their billing once again on Saturday, as they lost 3-0 to Nottingham Forest.
Having turned over the league leaders on their own ground, the Lilywhites set about Forest with an extended away support but could not turn their momentum into more points.
Lewis Grabban scored from the spot in the first half and added another in the second half, with Jack Colback volleying home between the two.
TOM SANDELLS looks at four talking points from the game.
1. Not at the races.
There are few other ways to put it than North End were just not at it on the day.
They did not look fatigued, they did not drastically change their shape nor their personnel – they just were not very good.
It can happen, they cannot be brilliant every week. They never really got going in the game.
Forest outplayed PNE, though it did not take much. They did not look like a team ready to tear up the play-off places but they were able to string a few passes together and just looked more up for it.
There is undoubtedly more to come from Frankie McAvoy’s side, in desperate need of consistency.
2. Have to take their chances.
It is often said in the Championship that the first goal is crucial, in truth, the same would also be said in the Premier League, in a highly-contested League One this season and equally League Two.
Goals, of course, change games.
North End spurned the opportunity to transform the game and were left thinking what might have been. Brad Potts received a cut-back less than 10 yards out and his effort was more threatening to those in the second tier than those between the ball and the back of the net.
The loss is not down to one man but so many times PNE have not taken chances that could have changed the game.
Consistency must be found, in both performances but also in the taking of opportunities – winning ugly is important and it does not happen at the moment.
PNE were without two very important Irishmen against Forest, though one did make the squad. Skipper Alan Browne was out with a back problem and Sean Maguire’s Achilles has been playing up, therefore he wasn’t risked when 2-0 down.
Add to the mix that key defender Patrick Bauer was forced off early due to a problem with his Achilles – the same one that he ruptured.
The German’s departure seemed to signal the floodgates to open a little and the game got away from PNE.
None of the three so far seem like particularly long-term injuries but when there are absentees in this squad, it shows.
4. Lick their wounds.
It was a tough day all round, a poor display, poor result and a couple of injuries to boot.
It is the old cliche, but now they must wait until after the international break to put the win right and the defeat will linger longer than most.
It also gives them time to recover from it.
They can go away, accept they were not good enough and be more determined to be better.
They must take the hits when they deserve them, but they also have more than enough time to process it, deal with it properly and come back better.