Preston North End boss Alex Neil defends Chris Maxwell after red card in draw at Ipswich

Alex Neil defended goalkeeper Chris Maxwell after his red card in Preston North End’s 1-1 draw at Ipswich on Saturday.

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Chris Maxwell was adjudged to have brought down Jordan Roberts for Ipswich's penalty at Portman Road

Chris Maxwell was adjudged to have brought down Jordan Roberts for Ipswich's penalty at Portman Road

The Welshman was dismissed for two bookable offences at Portman Road with the Lilywhites forced into using midfielder Paul Gallagher in goal for the closing stages having used all their substitutes.

Maxwell was adjudged to have brought down Jordan Roberts for a penalty right at the end of the first period with Freddie Sears converting from the spot.

Gallagher then equalised with his first touch off the bench before two minutes later Maxwell was dismissed with a quarter of hour to play, his second yellow card coming for a foul on Kayden Jackson outside the box.

“We use Maxi as a sweeper-keeper,” said Neil post-match.

“Like anything, when you’re making those decisions there’s a thin line between making a really good one and making a really bad one.

“It’s a bit like a striker, if he gets an opportunity and scores it’s a great decision but if you miss you’ve done something wrong.

“It’s no different all over the pitch.

“Maxi’s disappointed and has apologised to his team-mates for affecting the game in a negative manner.

”He’s disappointed and frustrated he’s been sent off.

“But we’re a team and the lads then needed to go and try and dig him out and they did that.”

Neil had mixed emotions over the award of the penalty.

Josh Earl fired a backpass to his goalkeeper with Maxwell taking the ball beyond an on-rushing Sears before going into the challenge on Roberts, the PNE boss feeling he got to the ball first.

“I’ve watched it back and when you slow it down it looks as if Maxi is the one that kicks the ball,” said Neil.

“What I said to Maxi is that the trajectory of the ball means it looks as if the player is the one who has run onto it.

“If you look at it in in real time it’s always difficult to say and when you look at it back it didn’t look as blatant as what it maybe appeared.”