'Off camera' moments from Preston North End's win over Queens Park Rangers: Sweep-winning manager, endangered keepers and toilet humour

Preston North End took their time to get going against Queens Park Rangers but eventually hit the straps to record a second Deepdale victory in five days.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 11th April 2022, 4:45 pm

It was actually a third home win in a row if you cast your memory back more than a month to the 2-1 success over Bournemouth.

Here are a few ‘off camera’ happenings from Saturday’s clash with QPR which are worth a look.

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A scramble on the goalline during Preston North End's victory against Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale

No sooner had Emil Riis scored his 18th goal of the season than he was limping off to the dressing room.

He felt soreness in his right hamstring as he got off to the ground to start celebrating the 43rd minute opener and after getting treatment on the pitch from physio Matt Jackson, headed for the dressing room.

Some spoilsport on stats duty kicked Riis while he was down by crediting his goal as an own goal from QPR’s former Burnley defender Jimmy Dunne.

Needless to say, North End have given it to the Danish striker and it could go in front of the dubious goals panel.

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe holds the ball during the game against Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale

North End bow:

It was a great moment for Mikey O’Neill in the 90th minute when he replaced Cameron Archer, coming on as PNE’s third substitute of the game.

The 17-year-old was the ninth player to make his debut in North End’s first-team this season, following on from Ali McCann, Cameron Archer, Joe Rodwell-Grant, Jamie Thomas, Connor Wickham, Matthew Olosunde, Josh Murphy and Bambo Diaby.

O’Neill will soon be coming to the end of the second year of his scholarship and you would think the offer of a professional deal is coming soon.

Bench duty:

Josh Murphy came off the bench to replace Greg Cunningham during the second half on Saturday.

That was the Cardiff City loan man’s 11th appearances as a substitute, with him yet to start a game in Preston colours.

Will he get the opportunity to start a game before his run spell runs out in May?

I’ve started so I’ll finish:

Ali McCann returned to the starting XI against QPR in the right wing-back role. The Northern Ireland international played the full 90 minutes, the first time he had done so since Hull City away on February 5.

Nifty footwork gaffer:

He might be 43 and have hung up his boots a few years ago but Ryan Lowe still has ability in his feet.

The PNE manager’s control of the ball when it went out of play near to the technical area late in the first half, was impressive to say the least.

QPR goalkeepers:

Being a QPR goalkeeper seems to be a risky business, with them having FIVE first-team keepers sidelined for the North End game.

Injury had already out Seny Dieng, David Marshall, Jordan Archer and Joe Walsh.

Keiran Westwood, recently signed on a short-term contract, was on the team-sheet to start the game. But having thought he had shaken off a stomach bug earlier in the week, was sick in the dressing room after coming in from the warm-up.

In his place came Under-23s keeper Murphy Mahoney who had spent time on loan this season with Welling United, Bath City and Stratford Town.

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Grand National halts play:

Not strictly true but the running of the famous race at Aintree meant a delay to the post-match press conference.

All eyes in the PNE dressing room were on the National, with North End boss Ryan Lowe winning the sweep.

Toilet humour:

Ryan Lowe had the media in stitches and Radio Lancashire’s Ian Chisnall briefly lost for words, when delivering his thoughts on the game.

Chisnall asked about the absence of Brad Potts from the team and got a very straight forward – and graphic – answer from Lowe.

Let’s just say Potts had spent plenty of time in the bathroom in the couple of days before the game.

Ever the professional, Chisnall moved the interview along perfectly and got a more medical-based explanation from Lowe.

Get well soon Brad.

Paying the penalty:

QPR’s consolation goal came in the third minute of stoppage-time, Andre Gray scoring from the penalty spot after Daniel Johnson had grabbed Sam Field’s shirt.

It was only the third penalty given against PNE this season, Lewis Grabban scoring for Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in November while Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp was on target at Deepdale in January.

A penalty was the only way Daniel Iversen was going to be beaten on Saturday and the North End goalkeeper was certainly deserving of keeping a clean sheet.

Johnson escaped a caution for his late hold of Field’s shirt, referee Tony Harrington not booking any PNE players during the game.

That came as a welcome change to Ben Whiteman who had been shown a yellow card in his three previous games and five times in seven matches.

Whiteman has 11 bookings to his name this season but the cut-off point for a ban for 10 cautions passed at the 37-game mark.

Fifteen yellows in a campaign would lead to a three-game ban.