Man City loanee Lukas Nmecha delighted to grab first Preston North End goal and get monkey off his back

Lukas Nmecha goes on the attack against Aston Villa
Lukas Nmecha goes on the attack against Aston Villa

Lukas Nmecha admits his search for a first Preston North End goal was playing on his mind with the Manchester City loanee now hoping to kick on in 2019.

There is some debate about who got the Lilywhites’ equaliser in their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Saturday, Nmecha and Villa defender Ahmed Elmohamady both getting a touch.

Nmecha is congratulated by Paul Gallagher after PNE's equaliser

Nmecha is congratulated by Paul Gallagher after PNE's equaliser

The PNE front man insists he is off the mark though and is glad to have that box finally ticked in his 23rd appearance.

“I’ve gone into every game thinking ‘today is going to be the day’,” said the 20-year-old.

“It probably should have come before now and I should have taken my chances better but that’s how it goes as a striker.

“I went through a stage where I was playing really well but the goals weren’t coming.

“Then you think you maybe need to change something and then your performances can dip.

“It’s the end of the year and I needed one!

“Once I got it I just felt calmer and took a few more shots on.

“Next year is definitely going to be more successful in terms of goals.”

The goal from Daniel Johnson’s cross just after the hour mark cancelled out Tammy Abraham’s header on the stroke of half-time.

PNE then pinned Villa back but with Tom Barkhuizen hitting a post couldn’t turn one point into three, Birkir Bjarnason missing a glorious chance for the visitors late on as a pulsating game ended all square.

All in all it was a fine display for a stretched North End side who had three academy players on the bench, Adam O’Reilly and Ethan Walker making debuts.

“The manager told us before the game not to make any excuses,” said Nmecha.

“Everyone just worked as hard as they could.

“Aston Villa are a good side and I think we outplayed them for most of the game.

“We won our battles and just looked like we wanted it more.

“I think we’re all quite disappointed we didn’t win the game because we had quite a lot of chances.

“We all came off blowing though and had to take a deep breath before we could even speak in the changing room.

“That’s what it takes though.”