One of top scorer Daniel Johnson’s goals for Preston North End was first with his head!

Daniel Johnson heads home against Barnsley
Daniel Johnson heads home against Barnsley

Daniel Johnson experienced a career-first event in setting Preston on their way to victory over Barnsley.

Never before had he scored with a header in his time as a professional or in academy football.

That all changed when the North End midfielder looped a header over Barnsley keeper Brad Collins in the 5-1 win at Deepdale last Saturday.

It was his sixth goal of the season and he went on to net a seventh in more conventional style in the second half.

At first-team level Johnson has scored 41 goals, with 38 of them coming in a PNE shirt.

So the header has a special place in among them for the 26-year-old.

“I’d never scored a header before last week,” Johnson told the Lancashire Post.

“Not at first-team level and I don’t remember scoring one as a kid or when I was in the academy at Aston Villa.

“So it was nice to score that way and I thought I took it well in the end.

“Tom Barkhuizen had a shot and I was fully backing him to score with it.

“To be honest I was ready to run off and celebrate with him but the keeper got down and made a good save.

“It fell my way and I made sure I got a good contact to take it back over the keeper.

“To see it hit the back of the net was good and the main thing was it put us in front.

“It doesn’t matter who gets the goals, we just want to do as well as possible and put points on the board.

“We’ve scored a lot of goal this season – different players have contributed which is a good sign.

“My second goal last week was more like what I usually do, Barnsley had a high line and we were getting runners in behind them. I got clear of their defence and put it away.”

Johnson has shone this season, with seven goals and five assists from an attacking midfield position.

He is four matches away from 200 appearances for PNE in all competitions, the £50,000 fee paid to Villa in 2015 an absolute snip.

Said Johnson: “I’m pleased with how the season has gone so far, I’m enjoying it.

“Scoring seven goals is 
very pleasing and it’s been good to play higher up the pitch.

“As a team we are playing well and picking up points.

“It was important we got the win against Barnsley the other day.

“We had drawn the game before at Middlesbrough, one which could have gone either way really.

“So our focus was firmly on beating Barnsley and we put in a really good performance.

“The aim is now to push on again after the international break and stay up there.

“It will do us good to get a bit of rest and be fresh for the next set of games.”