Preston North End Fans’ Panel: John Roper says supporters deserve better than the ‘garbage’ on display in defeat at Wigan Athletic
With the temperature gauge in the mid-twenties, Preston North End could perhaps be forgiven for thinking they were on their holidays with this gutless performances at the DW Stadium.
We have to take into account that Wigan were fighting for their Championship status and, as I have said very often, it can be harder to play a team at the bottom than a team at the top.
However, in all honesty, Wigan weren’t that good which just shows how bad PNE were on a hugely disappointing afternoon for the 2,891 North End fans who had paid their hard-earned money to watch the garbage dished out by some players who earn more in a few weeks than a lot of people earn in a year.
Just what the owner thought of this performance as he looked on from the stand goodness only knows.
Alex Neil kept an unchanged side from the XI that started against Ipswich on Friday but that is where the comparison ends, for this was a shadow of the football we saw on Friday afternoon and quite frankly was just not good enough.
Wigan took an early lead through ex-North Ender, Leon Clarke, when a defensive mistake saw the striker with the easiest of chances to give the Latics the lead.
Things went from bad to worse just after the half-hour when Ryan Ledson was sent off for dangerous play after trying to clear the ball with his foot five feet up in the air.
North End had to quickly reorganise and at least steadied the ship up to half-time when, I hope, they felt the wrath of the manager’s tongue after a truly woeful first-half performance.
In the second half, Preston did seem to be a little bit more organised but all too often the ball didn’t reach its intended destination and the frustration was boiling over onto the terraces as the fans tried to encourage the team on.
Ben Davies had a goal-bound header cleared off the line but that was about our best chance in the game with the strikers showing very little in terms of efforts on target and, to be honest, we never really looked like we were going to score.
The game was effectively over with 20 minutes to go when Evans fired home to make it two for the home side.
The introduction of Ginnelly and Moult livened things up a little but it was far too little far too late for a North End side that looked like they were on the beach instead of competing in a Championship football match.
Most people are aware we have lost five games out of the last six and that is clearly not good enough.
However, there are mitigating circumstances this season in terms of injuries and unnecessary suspensions.
Nevertheless a performance like this cannot be allowed to go unchecked and I hope the manager reminds the players of their collective responsibility to their paymasters, the club, and to the fans who facilitate some of the money into the club via season tickets and matchday ticket sales.
The manager promised to give some fringe players more time in these last few games and I hope he is true to his word and gives players like Ginnelly, Moult and Stockley a start on Saturday, because they can’t be any worse than the rubbish dished out at Wigan on Easter Monday.