An emphatic scoreline and gutsy display left a warm feeling inside to beat off the early winter chill and grant full bragging rights come the start of the working week.
For once North End got off to a blistering start, with a goal apiece for Tom Barkhuizen and Callum Robinson. The continuation of Robinson’s fine form is a joy to watch at the moment and so it was with some trepidation that we watched him being helped off the pitch later in the second half. Early reports suggest it is another hamstring problem to add to our injuries woes yp front. At the other end of the pitch, Declan Rudd was instrumental in keeping the half-time score at 2-0 with a couple or three outstanding saves, the best of the bunch being a fingertip stretch to see the ball safely over the bar from an up-and-over-the-wall free-kick that was heading for the top corner. A half-time substitution by the visitors in the form of their wily and experienced striker, Danny Graham, clearly signalled they were going to try and get back into this game as quick as possible. And boy did it work for them, as he scored with a header just three minutes in. As to why he was unmarked is one for the coaching staff to ponder and reminded us of our frailties at defending set-pieces this season. With their tails up, Blackburn then dominated this phase of the game with a lot of possession and dangerous looking play, but it passed as Preston continued with a doggedness and determination that was rewarded with the final two goals by Louis Moult and Alan Browne. Moult had come on for the disappointingly ineffective Lukas Nmecha and made a big difference by keeping and making good use of possession. The heart-felt celebration that followed Moult’s goal was maybe a hint at his frustration in lack of game-time and in some negative social media comments he has received recently.