John Roper’s PNE Fans’ Panel: Three points at Ewood Park are vital now
Disappointment and frustration are the two words that spring readily to mind after this latest draw at home against high-flying Bristol City.
PNE had the better of the game but the visitors always looked dangerous on the attack and eventually the game ended with what most people would say was a fair result.
North End held the lead at the break after a training ground move was converted by Daniel Johnson from a Gallagher free-kick.
But Bristol City came back into the game more in the second half even though the equalising goal had more than a shade of an offside look about it.
North End had two decent chances late on in the game but agonisingly could not find the winner and the gap between the two team remains at six points.
Three changes to the Preston side saw Johnson, Ledson and Fisher coming in for Clarke, Pearson and Barkhuizen, with Clarke injured, Pearson suspended and Barkhuizen dropped.
PNE had several corners early on but the best chance fell to Alan Browne with a free header that went over the bar.
Browne was to play a part in the goal that gave North End the lead when he was flattened over on the left-hand side.
The resulting free-kick saw Gally play the ball along the floor to Johnson who hit a sweet left foot shot past the keeper and into the net to give PNE the lead a few minutes before half time.
Preston started the second half well when an excellent move saw a Brad Potts shot charged down by the Robins defence.
City were starting to have a little more of the ball and PNE were dropping slightly deeper leaving Sean Maguire as the lone striker up front.
With just over 20 minutes to go the visitors equalised with a touch of controversy about the goal.
A corner from the right was headed down and Diedhiou whipped the ball into the net from close range when he looked like he was a good yard offside.
North End felt hard done to but after a couple of substitutions we got back into the ascendancy and could have snatched a winner when two chances went begging late on in the game. One was a brilliant run by Nmecha and the other was an Alan Browne header right at the death which somehow went wide.
A draw was probably a fair result although PNE certainly had the better chances to win the game.
It is impossible to say if we would have got over the line had Pearson played but he is a sizeable miss in my humble opinion.
I thought Ledson did well in his place but North End just lacked that little extra oomph and were probably a little too conservative in their approach.
No arguing about the man of the match, though, as Andrew Hughes put in another sterling performance at left-back and is proving that the step up to the Championship from League One is proving no problem for him.
We are not out of the hunt altogether but we need all three points at Ewood next week to remain contenders.