John Roper’s PNE fan’s column

Preston North End's Tyias Browning battles with Birmingham City's Craig Gardner
Preston North End's Tyias Browning battles with Birmingham City's Craig Gardner
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An excellent six points in three days as Preston overcame Birmingham 2-1 in another entertaining game at Deepdale.

North End could have been three up at the break and almost lived to regret their first half missed chances as the visitors equalised just after half time.

We clinched the points with just twelve minutes to go as Jordan Hugill swept home a ball from the right to add to the opening goal by Callum Robinson.

Over the 90 minutes I don`t think anybody could deny North End their victory but there were one or two anxious moments near the end, even with the visitors down to 10 men.

The Blues threw everything forward in the last 10 minutes but North End saw it out and now move just three points behind Norwich in seventh but still seven behind the play off places.

Simon Grayson stuck with the XI that were on duty against Brentford on Saturday and North End were soon on the attack playing a traditional 4-4-2.

As early as the fifth minute Kuszczak made a superb save from Hugill, the first of many he was destined to make on the evening.

Just as the crowd were getting to their feet to acknowledge the third anniversary of Sir Tom’s passing, McGeady crossed from the left and Robinson got his head on the ball and steered the header into the far corner of the net.

I counted at least four more decent chances before the break with two going to Hugill and one each from Horgan and Cunningham.

North End must have felt disappointed as they trooped off at the interval because we had dominated proceedings but only had one goal to show for it.

After the break we were immediately made to pay for not putting out chances away when an absolute thunderbolt from Adams from about 25 yards out put Birmingham level.

There wasn`t much that Chris Maxwell could do and it was game on again. Birmingham then had their best spell in the game in terms of possession as we floundered for a while in the centre of the Park but thankfully we were saved by some excellent defending particularly from my man of the match Paul Huntington.

With a quarter of an hour to go we got a grip of the game again and when Horgan came in from the right, his cross shot found Hugill, who had the relatively simple task of putting the ball in the net.

Birmingham’s cause was not helped when Gardner was shown a second yellow for clattering Cunningham as North End saw it out to collect the maximum points with another fairly impressive performance.

The crowd inside Deepdale was slightly up on Saturday but was still a meagre 10,233 on this mild Valentines’ evening but those inside got behind the boys especially at the end and played their part in an all round performance.

I thought the back four looked very solid on the evening with McGeady once again weaving his magic predominantly down the Preston left flank.

It has to be said that this side have been good to watch over the last couple of games after hitting a bit of a flat spot but with 14 games to go, there is still plenty to play for even though we are playing catch up.

The bandwagon rolls on to Wigan on Saturday and we can expect an electric atmosphere with a sell out 4,733 there to cheer the boys,hopefully, to another victory.