Just how on Earth did this game manage to end up this close is a question North End fans were asking themselves at full time.
North End completely dominated the first half at Bolton Wanderers and if Alex Neil's boys had have gone in winning by three or four goals at half time then nobody could surely have complained.
The visitors had just an Alan Browne effort to show for their domination in the first period.
Tom Barkhuizen missed when clean through and Sean Maguire had an effort superbly saved. After the break the game carried on where it had left off in the first half with North End in control but as Bolton threw everything forward North End sealed the game when Barkhuizen made no mistake to make it 2-0.
Clayton Donaldson pulled a late consolation back for Bolton but North End ran out deserved winners after another competant away performance
Neil made just one change from the team that had started the last three and that was to bring Barkhuizen in for Jayden Stockley, moving Maguire up into the centre forward position.
North End were dominant right from the start of the game with the midfield playing the ball around with all the time in the world.
The only observation I have is that we might have been a little over confident and didn’t really get into top gear for a while. Barkhuizen had the first chance but put it wide when clean through and Maguire did some great work in the box only to see his shot saved.
North End’s goal came five minutes before the break when some great interchange passing saw Browne give North End the lead with a sweet shot throught the legs of David Wheater and into the net.
How it was only one at half-time goodness only knows as the boys in green had been totally dominant and when the second half started the same way, North End fans were laying odds on how many it was going to finish.
Barkhuizen could have made it two early on in the second half but had his shot blocked for a corner when he looked certain to score. Brad Potts then burst through and hit the post as North End looked to wrap the game up.
With just under 10 minutes to go North End sealed the points when Maguire put Barkhuizen through and this time he made no mistake with a typical Barhuizen goal beating the Bolton keeper.
Bolton threw everything forward and got one back through Donaldson bang on full time but North End saw it out with an excellent save from Rudd tipping Bolton’s final effort over the bar.
All the bragging rights, then, once again go to North End after a comfortable victory in a local derby.
I thought North End simply outclassed Bolton on the day and if we keep playing like this then a top 10 spot is certainly within our reach come the end of the season.
The next seven days sees two of the bigger clubs in the division come to Deepdale when Norwich City are the visitors next Wednesday evening followed by Nottingham Forest on the following Saturday.
There is no reason at all why North End should not feel confident going into this exciting week at Deepdale and if we could get four, or possibly six, points from these games then it would give us a real fillip going into the last dozen or so games of the season. The way we are playing currently we can beat anyone in this division.