John Roper's Fans' Panel verdict: Sloppiness cost Preston North End at Cardiff

This was not a game that will live long in the memory but, perhaps on balance a chance missed for North End to take another three points on the road.

By John Roper
Sunday, 13th March 2022, 12:30 pm

On a better day we would have won this game and overall I thought our build-up was, generally, a little too slow and we gave away some sloppy ball with unforced errors in the middle of the Park.

I wouldn’t be too hard on North End, though, because after an even first half we were the better side after the break and looked the more likely to score until the home side burst into life in the final ten minutes with Daniel Iversen, once again, making two very good saves late on in the game.

The game was played in a pretty poor atmosphere to be honest especially with there being close to 20,000 inside the ground.

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Preston North End's Daniel Johnson sees his shot saved by Cardiff City's Alex Smithies

In fact the travelling 567 made more noise than the very subdued home support on a cold March day in the Principality.

Ryan Lowe made two changes to the starting line-up from the game against Bournemouth last weekend with Liam Lindsay coming in for Josh Earl and Emil Riis earning a recall in place of Ched Evans after his winning goal against the Cherries last Saturday.

It was a very cagey opening quarter to the game with both sides content to try and hold possession and make the opposition close them down.

The first half chance went to Cardiff but Van Den Berg cleared the danger while at the other end there was a half hearted penalty shout when Riis went down in the box but the referee waived play on. Potts then had the first real shot on goal easily saved and ten minutes from the break Riis was put through but his cross couldn`t find a Green shirt with his cross.

No real clear cut chances in the half and the signs looked ominous for a 0-0 as the teams went in at the break.

There were no changes for North End after the break as the visitors started the second half much the better kicking towards their own supporters.

Potts was getting plenty of the ball down the right but the crosses were not finding a North End player whilst Archer was beginning to torment the Bluebirds centre-halves with his low centre of gravity causing the big lads at the back problems.

Cardiff`s first shot of the half came through Doyle which Iversen collected easily and at the other end our best chance of the game saw Daniel Johnson jink his way though into the box only to see his efforts smothered by the Cardiff keeper.

An Archer shot fell for Browne but the North End captain put his effort wide.

In the last ten minutes North End came under some pressure but Iversen was there to make two excellent saves from the dangerous looking Ikpeazu and with that North End were back up the the M5 with a well earned point.

So not the most exciting of encounters but the draw certainly keeps up North End`s very good record on the road under the leadership of Ryan Lowe.

It was clear to me in this game that PNE can generally control games in possession but have a little habit of being a bit sloppy and almost arrogant at times with their passing.

The boys put in a good shift, of that there is no doubt, but I got the feeling coming out of the Cardiff City Stadium that we had just seen two points lost rather than a point won.

I guess it is probably our last throw of the dice at Luton on Wednesday evening in terms of making a late challenge for the top six but it`s starting to look difficult after a glance at the league table.

Mind you, it`s a testament to what Lowe has achieved in 16 league games that we are even mentioning the play-offs and we should look at the big picture, in my opinion, and not focus too much on individual games.

Apart from the one on April 5th, that is!