Frankie McAvoy giving the board a nudge with regards to Preston's manager position, says fan John Roper
A really professional performance and victory saw North End beat play off contenders Barnsley 2-0 in this final home game of this craziest of seasons.
The win was the third on the trot for North End and the fourth on the trot without conceding a goal. It was an open game and competitive for a fixture that essentially had little on it as far as North End were concerned.
The first half saw us start brightly and the visitors countering but as the half wore on a goal by Jordan Storey seven minutes from the break gave North End the half time lead.
In the second period we had to do more defending as The Tykes pressed forward trying to get a goal that would bring them back into the game after Ched Evans had put North End two up just four minutes after the break. It was all to no avail, though, as North End kept their shape and collected three more points as the climb up the table continues.
Frank McAvoy made just one change to the side that won at Coventry last Saturday with Greg Cunningham coming back into the team to replace Sean Maguire. North End started the game well with a high tempo as both sides played some open football. Barnsley best chance of the first half came in the ninth minute but the shot went wide from 12 yards out.
The game was end to end without there being a multitude of chances for either side but North End were playing with the freedom that their mid table position offers. Sepp van den Berg had a close range shot well saved just before the half hour and at the other end the Tykes had a header that went wide.Daniel Iversen saved well from an overhead kick after 35 minutes and three minutes later North End took the lead.
A Ryan Ledson corner from the left hand side led to a scramble in the Barnsley goal and Storey poked the ball home from just a few yards out to put us in front. Evans shot wide in added time and the teams went in to the break with the home side a goal to the good.
No changes for North End at half-time but three for the visitors as Barnsley tried to up the ante. However it was North End who extended their lead just four minutes into the second half when a long throw from Tom Barkhuizen was flicked on by Storey and Evans gleefully smashed it home for what was to be the deciding goal.
Barnsley came back at North End after the goal but couldn’t force a way through the solid defending as North End held firm. The visitors had a header just over with 20 minutes to go and immediately at the other end Barkhuizen shot over. Barnsley then had their best chance of the game but North End scrambled the ball away for a corner.
Mowatt was firing in some wicked set pieces but North End countered well and should have had a third when Evans chose to square the ball for Brad Potts instead of taking the shot himself.
With six minutes to go Iversen made a brilliant save from close range and that was really the last effort for the visitors. So what can we make of this team assembled from the car crash that was North End on the field prior to the departure of the previous manager.
Well once again in this game it was no frills from North End with the long ball and long throws used to good effect. I wouldn’t call it all out route one but it is certainly more direct than we have seen in the past few seasons.
McAvoy has got a team and a shape that everyone understands and every man knows his job. Four wins and two draws in the seven games under McAvoy must be giving a very big nudge to those in the boardroom at Deepdale as they consider the full time appointment for the next manager.
As for this game I thought that Evans, Van den Berg and Ben Whiteman were very good but my man of the match goes to Jordan Storey. A lad who has had plenty of criticism during his time and learning at Deepdale but who scored one, made one and defended really well in this encounter.
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