An interesting game at the City Ground ended all-square after a pleasing performance by an effectively patched-up North End side.
I say ‘effectively’ as this is possibly one of the most flexible and deepest squad of proper first-team players I can remember from near five decades of watching my beloved Lilywhites.
Injuries to a number of players meant an attacking midfielder had to fill in at right-back, a winger acted as centre-forward and the left-back position was occupied by a right-sided midfielder/defender.
If told, I suspect the Forest fans wouldn’t believe this could possibly be true in the opening 45 minutes as the visitors dominated play with a tripartite of possession, passing and aggression that should have been rewarded with more than the solitary Billy Bodin goal five minutes before the break. Prior to that,
I counted at least three other full chances between Daniel Johnson, Joss Harrop and Bodin (again) and wondered if we would rue at least not getting one more. The second period saw important Forest substitutions and, perhaps unsurprisingly on their own turf in front of 27,000, it was the turn of the hosts to dominate the game. Despite this Preston did not seem to buckle and were taking it all in their stride until the one superb move of afternoon by the men in red saw them equalise from a defence-splitting pass that put sub Albert Adomah through the centre to score.
Later replays showed the appeals of North End defenders for an offside may well have been justified, but the linesman’s flag stayed down.
Alex Neil did make a couple of strategic substitutions before the Adomah goal and it had started to work, in terms of wresting the game back and led to a couple of late chances that kept the hope of nicking the winner alive.
The away fans returned to our coaches with thoughts of maybe two points dropped.