Preston North End Fans’ Panel’s John Roper wants the season to finish on a high

Joe Rafferty on the ball against Sheffield Wednesday
Joe Rafferty on the ball against Sheffield Wednesday

An all-action encounter but a disappointing 3-3 draw in the final home game of the season for North End.

Twice they had a two goal cushion only for Wednesday to cut PNE’s lead and then level things up late in the game.

Preston were two up at the break through Stockley and a Lees own goal but Bannan score just after the interval to make it an interesting afternoon. When Alan Browne put North End 3-1 up it looked to be game over but the Owls came back with two headed goals through Forestieri and Nuhiu.

And although the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Iorfa was sent off with 10 minutes to go, for a reckless tackle on Fisher, PNE just couldn’t find the winner. Alex Neil made three changes from the side beaten at Wigan, with Alan Browne, Jayden Stockley and Connor Ripley coming in for the suspended Ryan Ledson, Lukas Nmecha and Declan Rudd.

Preston started the brighter although Ripley had to make an early save from a Bannan shot.

North End took the lead with a well-taken set piece that saw Gallagher play the ball out to Robinson, who fired in a cross flicked on by Browne and there was Stockley to head home and give PNE a 10th-minute lead.

North End continued to have the better of the action but Ripley savd well from Fletcher before the lead was doubled when a Rafferty cross was sent spinning into the air and all Lees could do was to put the ball in his own net.

After the break the visitors showed much more endeavour and it only took them three minutes to pull a goal back with a well-placed Bannan shot after North End failed to clear in their penalty area.

Wednesday were on top at this stage but the pressure was relieved just after the hour mark with a well struck left foot shot from Alan Browne looked to have secured the points for Preston.

However the third goal only galvanised the visitors and Wednesday reduced the lead with a quarter-of-an-hour left when Forestieri headed home to put the pressure back on.

Two minute later it was 3-3 when Nuhiu was too strong for Ben Davies and nodded home the equaliser much to the delight of the travelling 4,239 Sheffield Wednesday fans in the Kop.

Iorfa’s sending off spurred PNE on but they just couldn’t create that final chance to win the game against 10 men. I thought North End were much more workmanlike today than they have been for the past few weeks with Daniel Johnson, in particular, having a strong game in the centre of the midfield.

When it came to the strong challenges we still looked a bit lightweight without Ben Pearson but I thought Alan Browne gave us some additional strength playing in the No.10 role.

It is always disappointing not to win a game when you are two goals in the front but to be fair I thought the Owls looked a strong physical outfit.

Just one more game to go this term with a trip to Griffin Park next Sunday lunchtime and a chance for North End to finish this topsy-turvy season on a high note.