John Smith's PNE Fans' Panel verdict: Lack of a decent finisher costing North End dear

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According to the Andy Williams song, Christmas is supposedly “the most wonderful time of the year.”

While the current sub-zero temperatures may well mean that there will be a “White Christmas” on the pavements around my house, I am afraid to say that this will now not be the case on the football front, with my festive spirit being well and truly dampened following an unwelcome visit of The Grinch who came to Deepdale on Saturday, in the form of this hugely disappointing defeat .

The loss also put a huge dent in my play-off hopes which having been fuelled by our recent run of four wins from our last five games now seem to have been a tad optimistic. The mood of a football fan can soon quickly change and the joyous feeling I had following our magnificent win at Blackburn the previous week soon evaporated watching this game.

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It was a real back-down-to-earth feeling for me as almost straight from the kick-off we failed to get to grips with a side who had taken just one point from their last six outings.

Preston North End's Ben Woodburn takes on Queens Park Rangers’ Ethan LairdPreston North End's Ben Woodburn takes on Queens Park Rangers’ Ethan Laird
Preston North End's Ben Woodburn takes on Queens Park Rangers’ Ethan Laird

My main worry from this display is that we were second best in all areas of the pitch and it was a surprise to me that we managed to reach the interval on level terms as Rangers had always looked likely to score.

When they eventually did take the lead shortly before the hour mark we did try to change things to become more of an attacking threat, but our tactic consisted mainly of lumping hopeful high balls into our opponents’ box hoping for a lucky break which never came.

In my opinion this was another poor game which in general lacked any excitement to warm up our freezing cold fans. In mitigation there were several players missing through injury but on the flip side of the coin it was the same side who had played the week before and produced a totally different result.

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This season we have won just three out of our 12 home league games and only scored a paltry seven goals.

If our fans had written to Santa's grotto in the North Pole it is some quality firepower which would have been the the top present on their Christmas wish list.

Ideally this would be a return to sender for Cameron Archer, who left the building in May at the end of his loan spell here last season.

Despite the club publicly insisting that they will match any other club’s offer to bring him back for the remainder of the season, I personally think those letters will come back unopened and marked "address unknown ".

If this is the case I fear this season will become another one of missed opportunities unless we can find something else which could somehow change our miserable home form.