Five talking points from Preston North End's 5-1 victory over Barnsley at Deepdale

Josh Harrop is congratulated by Jayden Stockley and Tom Barkhuizen after scoring Preston's fifth goal against Barnsley
Josh Harrop is congratulated by Jayden Stockley and Tom Barkhuizen after scoring Preston's fifth goal against Barnsley

Preston North End served-up their first five goal win in the league under Alex Neil as they tore through Barnsley in the second half at Deepdale.

In the Championship, they had two 4-0 victories last season over Wigan Athletic and Ipswich Town.

Daniel Johnson celebrates scoring for Preston against Barnsley

Daniel Johnson celebrates scoring for Preston against Barnsley

North End won 5-1 against Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup in January 2018.

Here are some of the talking points from Saturday’s five-star show.

1. There is no doubt that Daniel Johnson is enjoying the best spell of his time with PNE which is approaching the five-year mark.

Seven goals in 10 starts in the league and probably as many assists represents an excellent two months.

Ben Pearson is mobbed by Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen after finding the net

Ben Pearson is mobbed by Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen after finding the net

His move higher up the pitch has been spoken about a lot and there is no doubt that operating closer to the striker and nearer the box is helping him make an impact.

The way North End play going forward, in that the central striker is more a foil for others to play off and used to create space, has suited Johnson.

Knocking back Wigan’s offer to take him on loan in the is looking the best piece of summer business Preston did.

The challenge of course for Johnson is to maintain this purple patch, push it on into the autumn and beyond. Double figures of goals in within sight.

Preston striker David Nugent tracks Barnsley's Alex Mowatt

Preston striker David Nugent tracks Barnsley's Alex Mowatt

2. Ben Pearson does know where the net it...and that’s official!

His two North End goals have come three years apart, with him last scoring in the 2-0 win over Aston Villa on October 1, 2016.

In between came 105 games without netting.

Pearson has only scored five first-team goals in his career, the other three coming while on loan at Barnsley from Manchester United.

PNE left-back Joe Rafferty in action against Barnsley

PNE left-back Joe Rafferty in action against Barnsley

In two spells at Oakwell he scored two goals in League One and one in the Football League Trophy.

His determination to score on Saturday was shown by the lung-busting run he made to get on the end of a Tom Barkhuizen cross.

3. David Nugent’s second coming at PNE progressed another notch on Saturday.

This was his first start since returning to the club in the summer after 12 years away. His last start had been on May 6, 2007.

Nugent should really have marked the occasion with a goal, dragging a glorious chance wide of the target at 2-1.

Fortunately, PNE were to net their third and fourth goals soon after that and it was quickly forgotten.

The 34-year-old played well leading the attack.

He used his experience well against a young Tykes defence and played a nice pass to Barkhuizen in the build-up to the first goal.

4.Kudos to Joe Rafferty and Alan Browne who both played out of position again in the full-back roles.

This was a ninth start for Rafferty at left-back in the absence of Andrew Hughes who was close for this one but not risked.

Browne slotted into the right-back position as he had done in three previous games, this time taking over from the suspended Darnell Fisher.

Neither let much get past them down as PNE stretched their unbeaten run to eight games.

5. North End's performances are deserving of a bigger audience.

There were 11,092 Preston supporters in the 12,431 crowd against Barnsley. For last week's 3-3 draw with Bristol City in the rain, 11,270 home fans were in a 12,005 crowd.

What the solution is, we can debate all day. But in terms of what is being served-up on the pitch, Alex Neil's players are doing their best.

They have taken 16 points from a possible 18 on offer this Deepdale and the performance for long spells against Barnsley was a joy to watch.

The next two home games later in the month after the international break are against Leeds and Blackburn in the space of five days.

Hopefully more of the Preston public can turn out for those two games to see what Neil's men are about.