John Roper’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel verdict: Jayden Stockley might have solved PNE’s problem

Two points lost for my money after this latest draw at home to the Swans in a game that didn’t really do justice to the two clubs’ respective positions in the Championship.

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 12:46 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 12:51 pm

North End took the lead with a superbly struck shot from Scott Sinclair, only for the visitors to equalise five minutes later through on-loan striker Rhian Brewster. The equaliser looked to have a clear offside in the build-up but North End had to take it on the chin and although we finished the stronger, and really should have won the game,

I would guess that the neutral would say that a draw was a fair result all things considered.

Much of the game was played in the middle of the park and I thought that the visitors looked the most likely on the counter-attack with PNE being predictable and more mechanical in their build-up play.

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Was it an afternoon for Jayden Stockley, asks John Roper

Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a bad performance by the lads but it may be one they look back on at the end of the season and think that we really should have won that one.

Alex Neil kept the same side that won at Barnsley 11 days ago but this time the opposition were much more diligent in their formation and the way they closed North End down.

The early exchanges were quite tepid with the visitors looking dangerous down their left and North End not really getting a grip on the game until Sinclair brought the crowd to its feet with his first goal for the club just before the half hour mark.

Unfortuantely the lead only lasted a few minutes and when Ayew had a shot deflected from what looked a clearly offside position, the ball fell to Brewster who had the simple task of knocking the ball home. North End protested vigourously to referee Mr Eltringham but the goal stood and the teams were level.

PNE started better in the second half and without really making any clear-cut chances, certainly looked the more like in the opening exchanges. North End brought on David Nugent for Josh Harrop with 25 minutes left and Nuge added a better touch up the middle, bringing the support players into play.

Browne fired over with and excellent chance right at the death but we had to settle for a point. Preston sit three points outside of the play-off spots having now played two more games at home than away.

That will be equalled up after the next two fixtures which are at Wigan and Stoke. I thought that we didn’t cause the visitors enough problems in the centre-forward position and although Tom Barkhuizen can be dangerous playing at No.9 I didn’t think this was a day when he was at his most effective up the middle.

We were better when Nugent came on but you can’t help feeling that this was a job for Jayden Stockley and I thought the big fellow was unlucky not to get some game time. A

nyway it wasn’t a disaster and it wasn’t a bad performance but you feel that these games are the ones we will look back on at the end and think, ‘If only’. Two big games coming up away in the next two weeks.