There is a saying in football that the game is all about glory and the glory after this particular Lancashire derby lies well and truly at Deepdale.
PNE ran out 4-1 winners in front of 19,912 with a high-tempo performance against Tony Mowbray’s men. Blackburn had their moments but not nearly as many as North End who were obviously well wound-up for the encounter after the fortnight off. Two up in 10 minutes made it a blistering start – but it looked game on when Rovers pulled one back just after the break. No need to worry, though, for the Deepdale faithful, as Louis Moult scored one and made one late on in the game to give bragging rights to the North End fans for the next few months at least. There were two changes from the win at Bristol City with Lukas Nmecha replacing Sean Maguire, and Alan Browne coming in for Daniel Johnson in the central attacking midfield role. The game was only 70 seconds old when Alan Browne pulled the ball back for Tom Barkhuizen to fire home and set Deepdale alight. After 10 minutes it was two for North End as Browne played a peach of a ball through to Callum Robinson in the inside-left position and the leading scorer made no mistake in doubling PNE’s advantage. Rovers got a foothold in the game but they found Declan Rudd in superb form with the keeper making two or three excellent saves to keep the visitors out, one in particular from a Mulgrew free-kick was right out of the top drawer. As you would expect, Blackburn came out fired up after the break and it wasn’t long before the travelling 5,614 were celebrating after Danny Graham pulled one back following a free-kick from the North End left. The game became tense for a period but the introduction of Moult for Nmecha was the game changer as Preston, once again, went on the front foot. With a quarter-of-an-hour to go Moult poked home number three after Brandon Barker’s shot had been deflected and PNE had their breathing space back. Five minutes from the end it was job well and truly done after a ball from Browne found Moult. The striker lifted the ball back into the box for Browne to make it four and put the stamp firmly on a man-of-the-match performance by the Irishman. The only downside to the afternoon was Robinson pulling up late on with what looked like a hamstring as North End’s terrible luck with injuries just seems to go on and on. All wins are good wins but a win in a derby always seems special so, while we dine out on the victory over the weekend, we have another really important game on Tuesday evening when Tony Pullis and his Middlesbrough side are the visitors to Deepdale. With Robinson almost certainly out and Pearson pulling up twice with cramp, Alex Neil will be calling on all of his squad over the next few weeks to get us through this hectic period of fixtures. For now, though, it is Preston who have the bragging rights after their derby triumph.