Slow starters but Preston North End know where the net is in the second half

Preston North End have scored 19 goals under Ryan Lowe’s stewardship and there’s been very much a second-half theme.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 11th March 2022, 12:30 pm

Just twice have North End found the net in the first half of 16 games – 15 in the Championship and an FA Cup tie – with Lowe at the helm.

It points to them growing into matches rather than taking them by the scruff of the neck early doors.

Patrick Bauer and Emil Riis are the two PNE players to score before the half-time tea is served.

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Emil Riis scores for Preston North End at West Bromwich Albion, one of just two goals scored by PNE in the first half of games under Ryan Lowe

Bauer netted in the 31st minute of the 1-1 draw with Birmingham City in January, getting a touch on Alan Browne’s shot.

It was against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns that Riis stretched out a foot to turn Greg Cunningham’s deflected cross over the line with 41 minutes on the clock.

Of the goals North End have scored in the second half under Lowe, seven of them came after the 78th minute.

PNE were more frequent first-half scorers under Lowe’s predecessor Frankie McAvoy.

Patrick Bauer celebrates with team-mates after scoring for Preston North End against Birmingham at Deepdale in January

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They scored 11 league goals in the opening 45 minutes, against Swansea and Luton at Deepdale finding the net twice by the interval.

Sean Maguire’s opener against Cardiff in November was the Lilywhites’ earliest goal this season, with him on target in the second minute.

At the other end of the scale, Riis is very much North End’s late duty man in terms of goals.

The Dane has scored five times in the Championship later than the 76th minute. Only Coventry City’s Matt Godden can match that in the division.

There was last week’s 89th minute winner against Bournemouth, while the real late show was his 96th minute volley to earn a 2-2 draw with Bristol City in January.

He scored late on in both games against Sheffield United, so too the winner at Middlesbrough in November.

It’s some going from Riis who scored only three goals last season after his October 2020 arrival from Randers FC in Denmark.

The 23-year-old must now be confident of passing the 20-goal mark in league and cup for the campaign.

He’s on 17 for the season – 13 Championship and four Carabao Cup – and with 10 games left, there’s the opportunity for him to do so.

In terms of appearances, Riis’ Danish compatriot Daniel Iversen leads the way for North End in the 2021/22 campaign.

The goalkeeper has played in all 36 league games, coming off the bench early on the opening day against Hull to replace the concussed Declan Rudd and staying in ever since.

Another loan player, Sepp van den Berg, is next in the appearances list, starting 34 of the 36 Championship games and coming off the bench once.

The only game Van Den Berg missed in the league was the 1-0 derby defeat at Blackburn on December.

Andrew Hughes has started 32 league games, as has Ben Whiteman – the midfielder also coming off the bench twice.

Riis has 30 league starts to his name, coming off the bench in the other six games.

Then comes Bauer who has played 28 league games, with skipper Alan Browne starting 26 and playing four times as a substitute.