Preston North End FANS’ PANEL: John Roper says last few days of transfer window are crucial

Sean Maguire goes down under pressure from Millwall's Jake Cooper but no penalty was awarded
Sean Maguire goes down under pressure from Millwall's Jake Cooper but no penalty was awarded

Not quite the start that the North End faithful were looking for with a poor 1-0 reverse at The Den.

In all honesty this was not a game for the purist and PNE should be very disappointed at not bringing something home.

Millwall took the points with a well taken goal from the left but it was after we had lost the ball and perhaps the defending could have been better.

Preston had their chances in the game but really struggled to get anything on target of any significance although we were denied a stoppage-time penalty after Sean Maguire was clearly brought down right in front of the 1,232 travelling faithful who had made the long journey to South Bermondsey.

Looking holistically at the game we probably deserved a draw as we played the better football but that wasn’t saying a lot with two poor teams on show. Millwall adopted the usual ‘up-and-at-’em’ tactics and it just put North End off their stride .

We then got into the game with a series of corners but couldn’t make them count, something that we would live to regret later in the game. It appeared to be a 4-1-4-1 formation with Gally playing wide left but taking every opportunity to hit 50-yard diagonal crossfield balls to Barkhuizen on the right.

The balls from Gallagher hit the target 90% of the time but the execution and delivery thereafter left something to be desired, Browne had a shot which was headed away and Maguire met a thunderbolt of a cross from Hughes but his header was over the bar.

Millwall took the lead through Wallace when they didn’t really appear to be threatening but ultimately it proved to be the difference between the two teams. The second period started pretty much like the first with a high tempo but both sides often losing the ball in possession.

North End’s first touch seemed to me to be poor all afternoon and Millwall just had a bit more zip and a bit more urgency about their work.

I’m sure this is something that Alex Neil will speak about during the week. Preston still looked like they were playing pre season games with plenty of tippy-tappy although, having said that, we had some moments of delightful football during the game albeit that they were few and far between.

Neil brought Stockley, Bodin and, latterly, Andre Green on to try and boost North End’s firepower but I thought it was obvious to every man, woman and child in the away end that North End are desperate for a goalscorer and quickly.

I don’t think it is time to make sweeping statements about our plight this season as we have many good players on the books at Deepdale but the one thing we haven’t got is a goalscorer and as many people said to me at Millwall on Saturday afternoon they just don’t seem to know where the goals are going to come from.

The most important days of the season may well be the next few leading up to the closure of the transfer window on Thursday.