It wasn’t the most exciting game of the season but PNE’s workrate and the coolness of the penalty takers all added up to a quite comfortable three points in the end for Alex Neil and his men.
North End were busy without being spectacular but it has to be said that QPR were mediocre at best on the evening, and their best chance came in added time at the end of the game.
Up until then Declan Rudd didn’t really have a great deal to do as North End got men behind the ball, particularly in the second half when Rangers tried to play the ball more on the floor than they had done in the first half.
It mattered little as Preston snuffed out virtually everything the home side had to throw at and will have travelled back up the M6 reflecting on an away-day job well done.
Alex Neil made three changes to the team that started against Cardiff City last Saturday with Jordan Storey and Daniel Johnson coming in for the injured Ben Davies and Ben Pearson while Emil Riis replaced Sean Maguire up top.
Preston started the game well and took the initiative early on but Rangers got a hold of the game and for ten minutes threatened the North End goal with Rudd saving superbly one on one.
We started to claw our way back into the game and were rewarded after 24 minutes when Sinclair weaved a bit of magic and was brought down inside the box.
Kevin Friend initially gave a free-kick outside of the area but after consulting his assistant pointed to the spot and Johnson made no mistake in giving North End the lead.
The goal certainly calmed us down and we were in control for most of the remainder of the half as the Hoops went more and more route one trying to find an equaliser but the defence held firm and North End deserved their lead at the break.
No changes at the break for either side but the way the first half had panned out you always thought that if PNE got the second goal then Rangers would struggle to recover.
An even start to the second period saw play switch from end to end until the decisive moment in the game came just before the hour mark and it came to North End.
Riis tussled for a ball across the box and got in front of Wallace only to be brought down and Mr Friend once again pointed to the spot.
A change of penalty taker saw Sinclair step up but the outcome was exactly the same with coolest of penalties putting North End in a winning position.
Barkhuizen, Maguire and latterly, Stockley were introduced by the manager as Preston looked to snuff out the home sides threat and that is exactly what they did.
Adomah had a great chance in added time when clean through but his shot went wide and North End were home and dry.
An excellent three points for North End then and not before time as our home form so far this season has been very poor.
When we are away our style of play seems to suit better as we seem to get more time on the ball with the emphasis always on the home side to take the game to the opposition.
There were many solid performances throughout the PNE side and you could not fail to be impressed by the ground the lads covered in the second half to keep the Hoops out.
Alex Neil must find a cure for the Deepdale blues and find it quickly but seven points from three away games would indicate there is not much wrong with us on the road so far this campaign.
A trip to West Yorkshire is next up for North End and with two games a week for the next three weeks I would expect changes for Saturday at Huddersfield as the manager looks to keep his squad fresh in this very busy period.