"Our back three performed with dogged determination": John Smith's PNE fans' panel verdict

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After a fabulous February, in which we picked up 13 points from five games, I was hoping we could have a marvellous March and add some more points to our tally.

While I was expecting a tough game against Hull, I did not believe that we would get a mauling from the Tigers; even though they had spent some big money in the January transfer window.

Since a New Year’s Day defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, they had won their last four away games including victory at high-flying Southampton in their last one.

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With our visitors being three points above us in the table and occupying the last play-off spot, I also viewed this game as one which we could not afford to lose.

Alan Browne competes for possession with Hull City's Ryan Giles (photo: Dave Howarth/CameraSport)Alan Browne competes for possession with Hull City's Ryan Giles (photo: Dave Howarth/CameraSport)
Alan Browne competes for possession with Hull City's Ryan Giles (photo: Dave Howarth/CameraSport)
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Ryan Lowe's livid verdict on key moment during Preston North End vs Hull City

Our second 0-0 draw of the season was far from dour with both teams playing some entertaining football without creating too many clear-cut chances.

In the end, neither side could pull a rabbit out of the hat and produce that one piece of magic which would have separated the two evenly-matched teams.

All of our players worked hard and our pressing on Hull’s tippy-tappy play around their own penalty area was a joy to watch.

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We were very unlucky not to be rewarded when Ben Whiteman’s shot as a result of this flew inches wide of the post early on in the second half.

Minutes later, I felt we should have been awarded what our old manager Craig Brown would have called a ‘stonewall’ penalty.

Will Keane was prevented from tapping in a close-range rebound off the keeper by the desperate shirt-pulling challenge of a Hull defender which, I thought, would not have looked out of place in the old schoolyard game of British Bulldog

Our back three performed with dogged determination while defending their territory and did not allow the Tigers to bare their claws during any of their attacking prowls into our half.

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Although I thought Liam Lindsay, who was awarded the sponsors’ man of the match, had a great game and was a colossus in the middle of the trio, my vote would have gone to Ali McCann.

The industrious Scot covered every blade of grass in his best game for North End for a long time, with some of his committed strong tackles in the middle of the park helping us snuff out Hull’s attacking threat before they could reach our penalty area.

Although mainly due to the inclement weather at rain-sodden Deepdale, I did not quite feel like taking my shirt off and twirling it round my head in celebration when the referee blew the final whistle – though I was pleased that we did not lose this proverbial six-point game.

It also maintained our unbeaten run which was stretched to seven games.

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If we can get a couple of wins out of our next three games before the last international break of the season maybe, just like the spring flowering daffodil bulbs on Moor Park, our season might also bloom in the eight-game run-in afterwards.