John Roper's Fans' Panel verdict: Preston North End can finish season with a flourish

A goal in first half stoppage time saw redemption for North End and the bragging rights over the summer for the team at the East end of the M55.

By John Roper
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 8:13 am

Cameron Archer was the man who put right the wrongs of Bloomfield Road back in October with an excellent finish past Chris Maxwell with almost 48 minutes on the clock of a 57-minute first half.

An injury to Daniel Grimshaw in the Blackpool goal saw an 11-minute extension to the first period and North End made it count with the on-loan Villa player slotting home.

It was a really tense affair in front of a big crowd at Deepdale and although the visitors had their moments in the game, it was Ryan Lowe`s boys who kept their nerve and saw the game out to collect a very valuable three points against the old enemy, and send North End into the next two games, which are both at Deepdale, with their confidence high.

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A giant banner is passed around by the Preston North End fans to remember club legend Sir Tom Finney

Lowe made three changes to the side that lost at Derby on Saturday with Brad Potts, Greg Cunningham and Sepp Van Den Berg coming in for Liam Lindsay, Joe Rafferty and Ched Evans.

It was a blistering start to the derby as you might expect with both sides really up for giving their all in front of the baying fans.

The first quarter of the game saw half chances at both ends but an injury to Grimshaw challenging for a ball saw a long stoppage with ex-North End keeper Chris Maxwell taking Grimshaw`s place.

Andrew Hughes had the best chance with a header against the Blackpool bar as North End moved into a clear ascendancy later on in the first half. North End hit the post again with a deflected Potts cross but with almost three minutes added the home side took the lead.

Riis found Archer with a lovely through ball and the youngster made no mistake slotting home to give North End the lead and sending the home support into raptures.

No changes for North End at the break but you could really cut the atmosphere with a knife as both sides came out in the second half intent on taking the game to the opposition.

To be honest the game became somewhat dogged in the middle of the park but it was North End who made the clearest opening with Ben Whiteman curling a shot just wide as North End once again got on top in the game.

Blackpool were doing their utmost to get back into proceedings with Bowler the main threat down the right, but North End were defending well and the goal lead was helping the boys in White keep a cool head.

Whiteman had another chance and a huge appeal for a penalty was waived away by referee Mr Webb in what looked like a clear handball by a Blackpool defender.

The last real chance of the game came from the visitors with a free-kick but the effort went over the bar and it was Preston who celebrated victory to put right the wrongs from last October at the Seaside.

So North End square up the bragging rights with a well earned victory against a Blackpool side who look like they have earned their right to be in the Championship.

To be honest I thought North End were a little too defensive on the night and could have taken the game to the visitors a little more, but having lost the first derby of the season I suppose it is understandable why North End sat on their lead a little towards the end of the game.

Six games to go and four of those games at Deepdale means that we should have a decent chance of getting well into the sixties in terms of points for the season.

I really hope that North End go out and express themselves in the final six games because I think we have been a little too cautious recently and it has contributed to our downfall.

QPR next up on Saturday followed by Millwall on Good Friday sees a good chance for us to finish the season on a positive curve ahead of what is going to be a massive Summer at Deepdale.