Solving the Ben Pearson puzzle is top priority says Preston North End Fans’ Panel member Tim Mercer

PNE boss Alex Neil at the end of the game
PNE boss Alex Neil at the end of the game

Twice in this match North End held a two-goal advantage that, but for some sloppy defending, should have resulted in all three points being added to the season’s tally.

But this is the Championship – surely the best league outside of a top flight anywhere in the world?

And so instead the neutral was treated to a six-goal thriller that either side could have won in the closing stages. T

he first half saw Preston at their attacking best in the manner and style that Alex Neil and his staff have brought to the club since his appointment two years ago.

What a pity that over the course of this season we have witnessed a series of devastating injuries to key first-team players.

With Alan Browne returning, this time in an attacking midfield role, supported by Callum Robinson on one side and Sean Maguire on the other, the start given up top to Jayden Stockley was highly effective.

Hence, it was no real surprise that we led 2-0 at half-time from Stockley’s header and a Wednesday own goal following good work down the right by Joe Rafferty. We could have made it 3-0 before the visitors pulled one back.

It has to be said it was a well taken goal from, for me, their stand-out player Barry Bannan.

He was a thorn in our side for the remainder of the match and provided the assist for Wednesday’s third and equalising goal from Fernando Forestieri.

Before that, the Lilywhites had gone 3-1 up thanks to some great headed link play by Stockley that put Browne through for a clinical finish across.

With only the away match at Brentford left to play, no doubt all thoughts are now on the season ahead. 
Reducing the amount of injuries will be crucial.

The other factor will be a tough one – how do you keep Ben Pearson’s ‘edge’ whilst at the same time cut down on all the unnecessary cautions and sending-offs of arguably our most gifted and effective player?