John Roper’s Fans’ Panel verdict: Nothing wrong with players’ commitment

They say that those who stay together, win together and such was the case at Ewood Park as a North End side, written off by many before the game, stuck together to claim all three points.

By John Roper
Sunday, 14th February 2021, 4:45 pm

The first half saw the goal action with North End taking the lead via a Greg Cunningham thunderbolt only to make it two just before the break from a Liam Lindsay header.

Rovers were awarded a really soft penalty which allowed them back into the game but with half time looming Daniel Iversen made one of the best saves I have seen from a North End keeper since the days of Alan Kelly Senior.

The second period got a little tense as time wore on but North End could and should have put the game out of sight with am Emil Riis chance and several half-chance on the counter attack.

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Liam Lindsay celebrates his goal

No matter, as we held on comfortably in the five added minutes to cancel out that horrible defeat at Deepdale just three months ago.

Neil made four changes to the side beaten by Rotherham last Saturday with Browne, Storey, Cunningham and Johnson returning to the fold as the manager changed tack to try and nullify Rovers. 
As PNE grew in confidence Alan Browne found Cunningham in the inside left-position and he made no mistake with a fabulous strike across the keeper and into the far corner.

Two minutes from half-time a corner from the left found Lindsay at the near post and he headed home to make it 2-0.

Right on half time Rovers pulled one back via an Armstrong penalty, Hughes adjudged to have fouled Gallagher.

But the more you look at it the more it looks a shocking decision. The action wasn’t over for as the three minutes added time were almost up an Armstrong flick looked to be going in until Iversen made a world-class save down at his right-hand post. It proved to be a match-winning save from the Great Dane.

So a great win for everybody at the club and as somebody tweeted to me in midweek Alex Neil has a real habit of pulling a result out of the hat when we desperately need one.

Every player in a green shirt deserves praise for the effort and endeavour shown and for executing the plan constructed by the manager almost to perfection. 
Even the Sky commentary team were praising the way North End played and, after a few poor results, this was an evening to push the chest out as the bragging rights in this particular Lancashire derby returned home again to Preston.

However one Swallow does not make a summer and we still have much work to do starting on Tuesday evening at home to Watford.

On the evidence of this performance though there looked little wrong with the commitment and fight in the squad and maybe that transition that everybody seems to be talking about has started to manifest itself already.