Yes, this may only be the fourth game of the long season ahead, but there was no doubt before kick-off that the vultures were already circling over Deepdale.
Rarely have I seen such anger building so quickly in the past week, as normally calm and rational voices took to social media to vent their frustration.
With the scent of blood in the air, a fourth loss combined with another poor performance would have proved to be too much for some and it was quite astonishing at the final whistle to see several home players collapse to the turf as if they’d just played extra time in an FA cup final!
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Enforced changes due to more Covid ‘isolations’ saw the welcome return of Patrick Bauer into the heart of defence and boy what a difference he made.
In this fan’s view, the relatively young and inexperienced Jordan Storey always plays better when next to the imposing German, cutting out the silly mistakes that have proved so costly in the opening matches and looking calm and assured once more.
Good link-up play by the back three, orchestrated by Bauer, allowed both wing backs to get forward and make an impact. Josh Earl in particular relishes this role, albeit sometimes to the detriment of his defensive duties, and Sepp van den Berg had another good match as he continues to progress in senior football.
Add in an early headed goal by Bauer and he no doubt put his feet up on Saturday evening with a well-earned ‘bier’ and sense of satisfaction after the serous injury suffered back in December during those dark days of empty stadiums and iFollow.
What is more surprising is that it took a superb save at the death by Daniel Iversen to keep all three points in the bag given the number of clear-cut opportunities created, but not converted, by Preston throughout the ninety minutes. In the end I lost count, but recall two by Scott Sinclair, one by substitute Emil Riis and a thunderbolt by Ben Whiteman that crashed off the underside of the bar.
In between Daniel Johnson, looking more like his old self, cut in a number of times to give room to his favoured left foot for strikes that either narrowly missed or were saved.
The first for Sinclair was created by a beauty of a pass by van den Berg to put him through with only the keeper to beat who saved well with his feet. Van den Berg also cleared off the line in the opening stages of the second half as the Posh tried their best to get back into the game.
It must be said that there will be stiffer opposition to come than newly promoted Peterborough, but a win is a win that for now gives some breathing space and confidence to both supporters and players alike as we head into another two-match week.
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