PNE Fans’ Panel verdict: John Roper

Sean Maguire salutes his third goal in four days
Sean Maguire salutes his third goal in four days
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A tough encounter at Deepdale saw North End come out of the other end with all three points against a very good Bristol City side.

Two goals from the Emerald Isle via Alan Browne and Sean Maguire saw North End home but not before the visitors had equalised and, for a spell, threatened to take all three points.

PNE deserved their victory on the evening as they kept their cool whilst the visitors started to lose theirs but there was much relief inside the ground at the final whistle as North End moved up to eighth in the league just one point behind the play off places.

The big disappointment of the evening was the attendance of only 11,264 (including 405 from the West Country) but those who did attend saw a cracking game and a precious home win in our quest for the play-offs.

North End just made one change from the side that won at Bolton on Saturday and that was Darnell Fisher returning to the starting line-up at right-back in place of Calum Woods.

Both teams started on the front foot with North End crating a couple of half chances and the Robins looking dangerous particularly down the left flank.

North End took the lead after about 20 minutes when a mix-up in the visitors defence saw Magnusson try to clear the ball.

But it only went as far as Alan Browne who sublimely beat Fielding in the Bristol goal with a chip worthy of the top flight.

North End had another good chance with a Huntington header but the ball was cleared for a corner.

I thought North End made a sluggish start to the second half and allowed Bristol back into the game.

We did have a good little spell but then Bristol equalised just a few minutes after Saturday’s saviour Sean Maguire had made his substitute appearance.

A ball from Reid on the left was headed home and the visitors were level and looking favourites to go on and win the game.

However, Maguire had different ideas and when, just two minutes later, Daniel Johnson put Maguire through, he beat two defenders before firing the ball across Fielding and putting North End back in the driving seat.

The game became fraught with several booking and the eventual dismissal of Aiden Flint after the big centre-back clashed with Greg Cunningham.

Declan Rudd made a fabulous save late on as North End managed to hold out with almost seven minutes of additional time being played.

In the cold light of day this will look like the excellent victory, in that it was against a side fancied by many to be right there at the end of the season.

North End showed one or two frailties over the 90 minutes but we kept our shape and we kept our discipline to complete the double over Lee Johnson’s men.

Not a great deal of time to reflect on this big win before another huge game on Saturday when a very in-form Fulham are the visitors to Deepdale.

PNE will be itching to get revenge for the two points snatched away from them at Craven Cottage earlier in the season and I expect another cracking game, with the run-in to the end of the season now well and truly under way.