John Roper’s PNE Fans’ Panel verdict: Give credit to the boss Frankie McAvoy
What a difference a week can make in football with PNE securing their third win in seven days with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Swansea City at Deepdale.
Roared on by the home fans, Preston came from a goal down to win the game with Sepp van den Berg, Emil Riis and Ben Whiteman getting a goal apiece and ensuring that North End go into the two-week international break with six points in the bag from the first five games after getting nothing from the first three.
The manner of Preston’s all-round performance was the most striking feature of this encounter for my money, and the hardest job at the end of the 90 minutes was to pick a man of the match on an afternoon when everyone in a white shirt played their part.
The players inspired the crowd and the crowd then inspired the players on a sunny August day when it was an absolute pleasure to be at Deepdale.
Frankie McAvoy made just one change from the side that beat Peterborough at Deepdale last Saturday with Riis replacing Scott Sinclair in attack. We started well and in the sixth minute had a huge penalty shout turned down with Riis going down in the box.
But it was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play when Piroe slotted home after getting clear of the North End defence.
It took Preston just two minutes to get level when Van den Berg flicked the ball past a defender and shot to the goalkeeper’s right to put us level.
Riis, in particular, and Maguire both had good chances to put North End ahead before the Big Dane smashed the ball home from the inside-right position to send North End into the break 2-1 up and well in the ascendancy. Just seven minutes had gone of the second period when Riis was fouled outside the box.
After a little deliberation Whiteman stepped up and calmly fired the free-kick home inside the far post to put clear water between North End and the Swans.
We were pressing the visitors so well and I can’t remember the last time I saw a North End midfield win as many 50/50 balls as I did in this game.
A lovely touch at the end saw Joe Rodwell-Grant make his Championship debut and let us hope that great things lie ahead for the lad, who truly is one of our own.
That was the week that was for North End then, with six points in the league and a place in the third round of the Carabao Cup to boot.
Preston deserve all the praise that they receive after this performance and result and you could see how much it meant both to the players but particularly to the manager.
Frankie has come in for some heavy criticism from some quarters and although it is still early days in his managerial career no one can doubt that the players gave everything for him out there on Saturday and perhaps he has been judged too early. Only time will tell on that one.
Those involved off the field could give the manager a big helping hand by strengthening the squad before the transfer deadline on Tuesday.