PNE Fans’ Panel: Leeds United deserved the points as Preston North End’s lack of squad depth is exposed says John Roper

Ben Pearson (right) brings down Leeds' Patrick Bamford, resulting in a red card
Ben Pearson (right) brings down Leeds' Patrick Bamford, resulting in a red card

The play-off campaign now sits in the land of almost miracles as Preston lost their third consecutive game, this time against high-flying Leeds United.

Two goals from two mistakes and another red card for Ben Pearson saw North End succumb to the visitors once they had been reduced to 10 men early in the second half.

We had played okay up to the break in a hard fought first half although we showed very little in terms of goal threat and always looked susceptible to one of Leeds’ fast flowing moves.

After the break we lost Pearson to a professional foul and from that point on you sensed the game was lost as Leeds made us run, and twice took advantage of sloppy play and gaping holes in the PNE midfield and the defence.

Preston made one change to the team that started against Sheffield United on Saturday and that was to bring in Daniel Johnson in for the unlucky Ryan Ledson, who had to be satisfied with a place on the bench.

It was an even start to the first half with Pearson picking up another stupid yellow card after walking away from the referee after he committed a foul.

Just when the North End talisman will ever learn how to behave on a football field is anyone’s guess.

Preston had a chance early on through Nmecha and again with Robinson but neither came to anything as both sides struggled to make any impact on the opposition goals in a somewhat tense first half.

The second half was only four minutes old when Pearson received a straight red for a professional foul on Bamford, the referee deciding he was the last man.

I didn’t have a good angle of the incident but Bamford looked offside initially although not in the eyes of the officials and Pearson was off for his third early shower of the season.

North End didn’t seem to recover and I thought the manager would go 4-4-1 to try and snuff out the Leeds threat.

However whatever formation it was it didn’t stop Leeds taking the lead through Bamford after Johnson had lost the ball cheaply in midfield.

When Bamford made it two with a free header it was game, set and match, albeit in slightly controversial circumstances but nobody could deny Leeds all three points as they were the better side for much of the game.

It will be a game remembered from a Preston perspective for the sending off and for it being the third consecutive league defeat after it all looked so promising just three weeks ago.

The referee didn’t help matters and I thought that Bamford and Alioski got away with murder with the number of fouls that they committed that went unpunished without a card being shown.

North End did okay for 50 minutes but lost the plot completely after the sending off.

The fact of the matter is that the squad is not deep enough with quality as these last three games have graphically shown.

Some questioned the managers’ tactics with only seven wins out of 21 home games but I think that is offset by the points won away.

We have fallen a bit short this time particularly in the last four days against two very good sides.