John Roper’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel verdict: Time we started to do the job for ourselves
A much better performance by North End, particularly in the first half, but the same old result and the same old story about not taking our chances.
Preston were undoubtedly the better team in the first half with three or four decent chances going begging and a ‘goal’ from Sean Maguire ruled out for a very narrow offside.
After the break North End started okay but then conceded the opening goal when Nugent glanced a corner from Knockaert past Declan Rudd and into his own net.
The lad looked absolutely devastated and from then on it was an uphill task for Preston who conceded again right at the end, when chasing the game, as Kamara scored from a breakaway.
PNE made just one change from the team beaten at West Bromwich on Tuesday evening with Brad Potts coming in for the injured Ben Pearson.
In fairness to Potts I thought he had one of his best games playing in the No.10 role and while North End obviously missed Pearson I thought we coped well, particularly in the first half.
We certainly took the game to Fulham and it wasn’t long before Potts had a chance to put North End in the lead.
From the resulting corner Maguire helped Nugent’s flick into the net but was ruled offside by the assistant right in front of the 1,964 travelling North End fans.
No changes at half-time as Preston looked to build on their good first-half performance.
The game took the cruellest of twists when out of the blue Nugent tried to head away a corner from the left from Knockaert, only to glance a perfect header past Declan Rudd and into the net.
From that moment on the stuffing seemed to be knocked out of North End’s game. Alex Neil brought on Sinclair, Harrop and Stockley to try and grab the equaliser.
However the hosts were now looking much more composed and as North End threw everything forward at the end of the game Fulham sealed the points as Kamara scored after a breakaway down the Preston right.
I am tempted to say that North End deserved a point from this game and on their first-half performance that would have been the least that they deserved.
However, once again, we failed to take our chances when we had the opportunity and the absence of a real goalscorer is becoming more apparent with each game, especially against the teams at the top of the section. I fancied North End for at least a draw at half-time but once the Cottagers took the lead our bubble seemed to burst on a warm, cold, sunny, sleety, rainy mystery of a day on the banks of Old Mother Thames.
I would have taken being two points clear in sixth after these two games and the sides below us have certainly kept us right in the race for the play-offs.
However it is time for us to do it ourselves as each game takes on more and more significance, starting with Queens Park Rangers at home next Saturday.