John Smith’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel verdict: Tough trip for supporters to take

Ryan Manning battling with North's End's Tom Barkhuizen
Ryan Manning battling with North's End's Tom Barkhuizen

We travelled down to London on Saturday in reasonably high spirits, hoping to arrest a run of three defeats which had blown a big hole in our promotion hopes.

Those hopes had reached fever pitch following last month’s home win over Huddersfield.

In the first half, although we had our fair share of the 
possession, we created only one clear-cut chance and in the main lacked direction going forwards, looking very much like a side short of 
confidence who had not scored in their previous three outings.

We began 
the second half quite well and at last began to put some pressure on a QPR side who had not won for eight league games and possessed a defence with as many holes in it as Rab C Nesbitt’s string vest having not kept a clean sheet for more than 20 games.

The rally which happened after Alex Neil 
had made a triple change in his outfield personnel was all too brief, although it did bring some excitement to a numerous amount of away fans gathered in the upper stand of the tight Loftus Road stadium.

When the hosts doubled their lead after keeper Declan Rudd conceded a second debatable penalty in successive matches, it was game over really, and we eventually slumped to a fourth defeat on the bounce, once again failing to score.

The result was disappointing, especially for those North End fans who had parted with their hard-earned cash just before the run-up to Christmas.

Richard Branson was offering free champagne on his last ever train to leave Euston and for any North Enders on board, that one it would of been the highlight of their thoroughly miserable day.