Why Preston North End boss Alex Neil was left frustrated with settling for a point against Bristol City

Alex Neil makes his point to fourth official Andy Haines during Preston's game against Bristol City
Alex Neil makes his point to fourth official Andy Haines during Preston's game against Bristol City

Preston’s defending in their 3-3 draw with Bristol City was out of character this season in the eyes of Alex Neil.

Only once before the league had PNE shipped three goals, that being at Swansea.

The trio shipped against the Robins all resulted from set-pieces – two corners and a free-kick set them up.

What wasn’t lost on Neil though, was the fact Patrick Bauer popped up at the other end to head the equaliser to make it 3-3.

That came from a set-piece too, a short corner played to Joe Rafferty who played over a delightful cross to find the big German at the far post.

Neil said: “I’m really greedy in that I want us to dominate our box and I also want us to dominate their box.

“Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out like that as we found out here.

“We have done so well this year with defending the box, that is where my frustration is.

“If it had been a particular weakness, it is something I could have given some more attention to.

“Last week at Birmingham we defended the box ever so well – I would argue that is one of the toughest places to go to and do that.

“We are not the biggest of teams at the moment if you have a look at us.

“Andrew Hughes not being available harms us in terms of a lack of height.”

Left-back Hughes missed the game, so too last Tuesday’s clash with Manchester City, due to a hip flexor injury.

He had returned against Birmingham after six weeks out with a hamstring strain.

Said Neil: “Hughesy’s hip flexor is a little bit sore. It is nothing major but he couldn’t play against Man City for the same reason.

“We are talking about days and not weeks.”

Neil felt his side had the more clear-cut chances on top of the three they scored.

Paul Gallagher and Daniel Johnson netted penalties and then came Bauer’s goal. 
“We got into good areas,” said Neil. “DJ put one across which I was hoping David Nugent would get on the end of.

“If Nuge had been five or six games further down the line he might have gambled.

“Alan Browne had a shot well blocked, Sean Maguire put one wide of the near post when he should have gone across the goal.”