John Roper’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel verdict: Message is clear – it’s time for change now
Another week of words ended at Deepdale with the only barometer that really matters and that is the performance of the first team.
Unfortunately, not for the first time this season, Preston were found wanting over the 90 minutes and after taking a very early lead, we once again threw it away after the break with what can only be described as an appalling second-half performance after a first 20 minutes that promised so much.
North End were in the lead within two minutes of the kick off when Sean Maguire scored his first league goal since December 29, 2020.
Unfortunately North End failed to capitalise on their first-half showing and couldn’t add to Maguire’s opener which was to cost them dearly later in the game. Within five minutes of the restart Cardiff were level and once they took the lead with 25 minutes to go there was only ever going to be one winner.
North End started as quick as they have in any game this season and were ahead after just 90 seconds.
A Ryan Ledson corner from the right-hand side at the Kop was flicked on and Maguire was there at the back post and give the home side a dream start. As the first half wore on it was clear that Cardiff were getting back into the game and North End were offering less and less as an attacking force.
We just do not seem to have a Plan B when team suss us out as they often do as the game goes on. No changes for North End at half-time but Collins came on for Cardiff and proved to be a thorn in PNEs side.
He had a very early effort go just wide but six minutes into the second period, a Vaulks’ free-kick found McGuinness at the back post and he headed Cardiff level completely unmarked. To be honest from that moment on there was only ever going to be one winner of this game and it wasn’t Preston.
It was no surprise when the visitors took the lead with 24 minutes left.
Giles took a corner on the right-hand side and Collins headed home much to the delight of the 927 travelling fans from the Principality.
The North End fans vetted their anger at the end with the team leaving the field to a chorus of boos. The league table shows that we are six points clear of the relegation spots but this doesn’t tell half the story of what is going on at the club.
We have a director desperately trying to justify his actions over the past 10 years with rhetoric that is absolutely kidding no one.
The manager is a really nice guy but on the evidence of what we have seen is his 26 league games, he lacks the technical knowledge to make the subtle changes in games that can mean the difference between winning and losing.
When you have the team captain reportedly saying that “we aren’t deluded, we are in a bad place” you just know there are problems in the inner sanctum.
Fans’ inspiration is very low and fans’ apathy is very high.
When fans show anger at least it shows they are passionate but when apathy appears you are in real trouble and it is my belief that club is in much bigger trouble than they would have you believe.
No doubt in my mind – it’s time for change at Deepdale.