Preston North End Fans’ Panel: Tim Mercer says win is a message to all the doubters
An emphatic win for North End in the first match of the season on Deepdale soil.
Yes, it is way too early to start making any predictions, but have no doubt, this morale-boosting performance was a much-needed shot in the arm following a week of some grumblings vis-à-vis transfers.
And as if on cue a certain Louis Moult got a rare start, scored Preston’s second with a header in the first half and put in the kind of performance that some of us suspect has always been in his locker.
Let’s hope he can stay injury-free and find some consistency in the ‘goals-for’ column by the season’s end. He was not the only change following the disappointing opening-day defeat away at Millwall, with Alex Neil bidding to shake things up a bit.
It clearly worked, with another two in the form of Daniel Johnson and Billy Bodin grasping the opportunity presented to them with fine displays.
Of these it could be said Johnson’s was all about grit and positive aggression, including involvement in Preston’s second and third goals, with Bodin providing some twinkle toes of the kind last seen at the feet of Aiden McGeady.
A fit Bodin could well become a firm favourite if he can continue in this vein. Prior to Moult’s goal a period of sustained pressure by the Lilywhites led to a Paul Gallagher corner finding the head of Sean Maguire who glanced a neat header across the keeper.
It looked to me like Maguire was relishing the change in his role to that of support for the main striker instead of being stuck up top on his own.
Two-nil to the good by half-time, it was capped-off by a beauty of a Gallagher strike, a peach of a curling shot into the far corner that all but wrapped the game up.
So, an important marker put down as to how this team can perform in a match that felt like the players were determined to make a point to the doubters hovering around PR1.