Preston boss Alex Neil frustrated by team's wastefulness in front of goal

Alex Neil felt Preston’s defeat to Rotherham was one very much self-inflicted.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 8th February 2021, 8:00 am

The post-match spotlight shone on the poor defending for the goals conceded in the 2-1 defeat at Deepdale.

Joe Rafferty headed into his own goal after just 17 seconds, then some generous defending allowed Ben Wiles to double the Millers’ lead in the second half.

Ched Evans netted his first PNE goal to cut the deficit but chances before and after that went begging.

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PNE defender Joe Rafferty scored an own goal in the opening minute against Rotherham

It was the decent number of chances which didn’t find the net which frustrated North End manager Neil.

“Tom Barkhuizen should have scored the chance he got in the first half,” Neil told the Lancashire Post.

“Before that Ben Whiteman was really unfortunate with a free-kick.

“It hit the post, hit the goalie’s back, how it didn’t go in I’m not sure.

“Anthony Gordon had a good chance when he cut inside and opened up the goal for himself – we saw him do that in training and he’s really good at it.

“There was one when Tommy B fizzed it across the front of the goal, I think Anthony touched it and the keeper blocked.

“Ched had a header which the keeper tipped away, Ben had one in the second half which fizzed past the post.

“We has ample chances to score, we should have got something so we have only got ourselves to blame really.”

Ahead of kick-off, Preston announced that the loans for Evans and Greg Cunningham had turned into permanent transfers.

Doing so reduced the number of players on loan to five – the maximum number permitted by the EFL in a match day squad.

Evans and Cunningham have signed until the end of the season.

Peter Ridsdale, advisor to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings, said: “We are very grateful to the assistance given to us by Cardiff and Fleetwood.

“Cardiff were very helpful with Greg’s situation, as were Fleetwood with Ched.

“Both took a bit of time, Greg’s move was actually an international transfer which had to be done through FIFA’s transfer system.

“It was only on Friday night that we got Ched sorted.”

Evans played the full 90 minutes on Saturday, while Cunningham was an unused substitute – the only one of the eight January arrivals not to get on the pitch.

Gordon and Liam Lindsay started after their loan moves from Everton and Stoke City respectively. Liverpool loanee Sepp van den Berg came off the bench in the second half.

PNE skipper Alan Browne missed the game with a calf injury but should be back to face Blackburn on Friday.

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