John Roper’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel verdict: Comeback illustrated man-management of Frankie McAvoy
North End came back from a goal down and a mediocre first-half performance to beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at the City Ground on the final day of the season.
It truly showed the character of this group of players and the excellent man-management skills of the interim head coach as PNE finished the season comfortably in mid-table with a very respectable 61 points.
To be fair we were not good in the first half and seemed off the pace, looking more like we were on the beach.
After the break North End were soon back to the standard they have shown since Alex Neil left the club.
Faster to the ball and more incisive with our passing. I thought Ched Evans was outstanding for North End on the day and was man of this match by some distance. It was wet and damp and it wasn’t pretty early on but it was another outstanding result for Frankie McAvoy and his boys.
He made two changes to the side that beat Barnsley last Saturday with Tom Bayliss and Scott Sinclair replacing Ben Whiteman and Tom Barkhuizen.
Forest started the game on the front foot and Yates had a shot that went wide early on. North End’s best chance of the half came as early as the ninth minute when an Evans header went just over the bar with the goalkeeper in no-mans land. In the 17th minute the home side took the lead.
The ball came out to Garner, who is on loan form Manchester United, and the 20-year-old fired an unstoppable shot past Iversen and into the net. Just seven minutes into the second period and North End were level when Sinclair was put through on the left via a cheeky dummy from Evans and his cross found Tom Bayliss who bundled the ball into the net.
Ledson was booked before, at the mid-point of the second half, PNE scored the winning goal. A Bayliss diagonal ball found Evans at the back post and his header across goal was headed in by Liam Lindsay.
So the “Big Summer” for North End begins right now and Frankie McAvoy has given those in charge at Deepdale plenty to think about when they make their decision for the next full-time manager of our club.
The board need to act quickly and decisively with a strategy to recruit some quality into the club and to persuade the fans to come back in August with everything at the club being on a positive note.
It won’t be easy, nobody ever said it would be, but they are well recompensed for the decisions they make and now is the time to stand up and be counted.
As for Frankie, well if that is to be his last game in charge then we will be eternally grateful for picking up the baton at a time when the performances on the field were at their lowest ebb.
McAvoy has done an outstanding job for North End and left everyone heading for the Summer in a much better frame of mind than they were after the Luton Town game which saw the end of Alex Neil.