John Smith’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel verdict: We MUST make most of home advantage
Before the game we were just a point outside the play-offs but after a hard-fought draw against a decent looking Swansea side, the gap has now extended to three.
In the first 25 minutes we had posed no attacking threat until marquee signing Scott Sinclair carved out a goal from nothing, taking the ball on the wing from a throw-in before cutting in and arrowing an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.
I think the signing of Sinclair will prove to be a good piece of business for North End and he could be as exciting for the crowd to watch like Brian Mooney was in the 80s. He has definitely improved what I believe to be the strongest squad we have had at this level in modern times.
Although he was the only incoming recruit in this January window, in my opinion there is no point spending vast amounts of money on players who are no better than the ones already at the club. Sinclair’s goal was our only shot on target in a first half heavily punctuated by some poor refereeing decisions with The Swans equaliser five minutes later looking like a stonewall offside. In the second half we got on top of the game and were more positive.
However we were unable to break down a resolute Swansea defence, despite dominating the half possession-wise with man of the match Ben Pearson spraying the ball around like he was playing in Brazil’s 1970 World Cup-winning side.
In the end though the Swans defence proved to be tighter than the referee’s zip pocket, with the bumbling official losing both his yellow card and notebook on two separate occasions, and finished with Swansea’s time wasting tactics.
With the clock running down quickly, I found it a frustrating afternoon and although Swansea were tougher opponents than some recent visitors to Deepdale we must start picking up more home wins if we are to maintain this season’s play off challenge.