Last gasp goal by Brad Potts may be the bit of luck Preston need, says fan John Roper
There must be many cliches that come to mind after this first game with Frankie McAvoy in charge of Preston – and beginner’s luck may well be one of them.
Fine margins indeed but Brad Potts equaliser in the 95th minute just might be the little bit of luck North End needed to start some sort of recovery after a very poor winter.
To be fair to the lads they could easily have been two up before the Norwich goal but quality, above all else, was the key word at Deepdale and the visitors had it in abundance.
The Canaries are clearly the best side in the division and I wish them well in the Premier League next season. No doubt the boys would have been disappointed going in one down but in the second half you did begin to wonder where a North End equaliser was coming from.
Enter Brad Potts and the much maligned attacking midfielder made it look like an excellent substitution just as the showers were being turned on in the changing rooms. McAvoy made three changes from the side beaten by Luton Town two weeks ago with Joe Rafferty,
Ben Whiteman and Andrew Gordon making way for Andrew Hughes, Tom Barkhuizen and Emil Riis. The game started evenly with a half chance to both sides but it was North End who looked the most likely in the early stages of the game. Ched Evans had a half chance before Daniel Iversen saved really well.
At the other end Riis missed an absolute sitter and to add insult to injury Evans missed the follow up. A minute later Scott Sinclair missed when bang in front of goal. However, just before the 20 minute mark North End were made to pay for not taking their chances when Buendia was not closed down and struck a superb effort inside the left hand post.
Cantwell then had a shot saved and Pukki missed a couple of decent chances as the Canaries got on top. North End did come back into it before the break but had to go in a goal down when they really should have been level.
No changes for either side at half time and it was the visitors who had the first real chance when the excellent Pukki cut in on the right hand side and his shot hit the underside of the bar before coming out to safety.
The game went backwards and forwards for a while but North End could not really make any inroads into a solid Norwich defence.
McAvoy used all his five substitutions at various stages in the middle of the second half with Jayson Molumby, Potts, Gordon, Whiteman and Sean Maguire coming on to replace Sinclair, Johnson, Riis, Barkhuizen and Evans.
To be honest the new shape and fresh personnel didn’t really appear to be working as Pukki missed two more chances and late on there was a scramble in the North End goal which was eventually cleared.
With four added minutes all looked lost for North End and when a Potts cross was cleared it was almost game over. However, in the fifth minute of added time the ball was launched up to Potts in the inside left position and with a shield and turn, his shot hit the Norwich right back and went past Tim Krul and into the net for a priceless equaliser.
So what can we make of this first performance under McAvoy. Certainly the effort was there and he did show that he was not afraid to change players and change formation if necessary. Our heads went down a little bit after their goal as we obviously felt we have scored at least once ourselves.
Clearly North End need to add some quality to the squad but that is for a later date. For now we just need to keep doing what we did because not all the sides in the Championship are as good as Norwich City.
The thing more than anything that this point will give is some confidence and belief amongst the squad ahead of another two very difficult games coming up.
A point at Swansea would be an excellent result the way things are panning out but for now we can have a chilled couple of days having put a stop to the rot and maybe hoping this challenge of getting away from the drop zone will be over quickly enough.
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