PNE Fans’ Panel: John Roper’s verdict

Ben Pearson battles for possession with QPR's Bright Osayi-Samuel
Ben Pearson battles for possession with QPR's Bright Osayi-Samuel

North End kept the play off dream alive after coming from behind to claim a 2-1 win at Loftus Road.

PNE equalised through Callum Robinson just on the stroke of half-time after Matt Smith had given the Hoops the lead early in the game. Alan Browne then headed the winner with a quarter-of-an-hour to go, the ball being helped over the line by Robinson much to the delight of the travelling 1,257 North End fans. The turning point in the game was the introduction of Paul Gallagher and Josh Harrop into the game and, although we withstood the usual home pressure in the last few minutes, I thought it was a well deserved victory overall with a much improved second half display. North End, in their lucky green third kit, started off a little sluggishly with three changes from the side that beat Leeds on Tuesday evening. Fisher and Johnson came in for Davies and Gallagher, and Robinson was in for the injured Maguire up front. QPR started the better and once again we conceded an early goal when Smith fired in from close range after a free-kick had not been cleared. PNE rallied and gradually grew into the game. Ingram was booked for bringing down Browne but it took until the last minute of the first half for North End to level. Fisher put in a cross after good work down the right and Robinson clipped the ball into the net despite the belated attempt by Ingram in the home goal to scoop the ball out. The second half started much brighter for North End but the home side still looked dangerous on the counter-attack. Huntington got an accidental punch in the mouth for his troubles from Ingram but carried on after treatment. Just after the hour mark Gallagher and Harrop replaced Johnson and Bodin and North End began to dominate the game. Gallagher put a peach of a ball over for Barkhuizen but the wide man hesitated and the chance had gone. Robinson had a goal ruled out for offside as North End piled on the pressure. Eventually it paid off when Gallagher’s free-kick found Browne at the back post who headed the ball past Ingram and into the net, with Robinson making sure the ball went in. PNE saw out the rest of the game without too many scares for what was a great win in the scheme of things. It wasn’t North End’s best performance of the season but we certainly had enough quality to fully deserve the victory in the Spring sunshine in West London. I thought the fans were outstanding in their support – it is just a shame the dreadful facilities at Loftus Road. So it’s now three points behind with just three games to play and what seemed a forlorn hope just seven days ago is now very much ‘game on’ again. We need absolutely every supporter that we can get through the turnstiles next week because we are now playing cup football and three more wins may well see us in the play-offs.