Preston North End Fans’ Panel’s Tim Mercer fears the season’s as good as over

In all honesty the fact that there was effectively nothing between these two sides, apart from the crucial incident of one bit of very poor North End defending, made the final result all the more disappointing.

By Tim Mercer
Sunday, 31st January 2021, 12:30 pm

In an opening 45 minutes just about edged by Preston, the subsequent and only goal of the game was conceded with only moments to go before the referee blew the half-time whistle.

Whatever Alex Neil was planning to say during the break went out the window and was undoubtedly a blow.

The second half was not much different in another scrappy game of frustrating Championship fare.

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Brad Potts gets a shot in on goal

Perhaps surprisingly, the result still leaves the Lilywhites nearer to the play-offs than the relegation dogfight, 
but there is that nagging feeling that we are what we are – a mid-table team in need of a boost if we are ever going to seriously challenge for a coveted promotion place.

The club is clearly in a transitional phase, with the departure of Ben Pearson and Darnell Fisher a disrupting factor that will take time to adjust to, as it will for the new players brought in.

Greg Cunningham’s substitution return and second debut was a welcome sight, but we have to remember that players such as Ben Whiteman will take time to step-up from League One.

In all, Neil made five changes during the second period, but none of the substitutes had the desired impact.

This was best illustrated by the only two decent chances of the half falling the way of starting players Brad Potts and Whiteman.

Most pundits had the Whiteman chance down as one that should have resulted in an equaliser, but in my view this was a wee bit harsh as there was little time or room for error as he sped into the penalty area with some momentum to meet a decent cross.

Let’s just hope the season is not already over as we approach the anniversary of the first Covid lockdown.