Preston North End verdict: Subs make the difference and a goal is enough for PNE

Preston North End's Emil Riis Jakobsen (left) celebrates scoring his side’s first goal with team mate Alvaro Fernandez.Preston North End's Emil Riis Jakobsen (left) celebrates scoring his side’s first goal with team mate Alvaro Fernandez.
Preston North End's Emil Riis Jakobsen (left) celebrates scoring his side’s first goal with team mate Alvaro Fernandez.
Preston North End got their goal on Wednesday - and as is to be expected at the moment, it was enough for all three points.

Emil Riis was the man to find the back of the net for North End, seven minutes after being brought off the bench.

It was not a game like in previous weeks, where it looked like a matter of time before North End scored - instead an even contest.

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There is a lot to like about Coventry City, they play in a similar way to North End and start both halves strong, meaning teams must be able to withstand the early onslaught.

The home side had their chances, hitting the woodwork on several occasions, but like six other teams before them, they could not find the net.

Ryan Lowe opted to make some big changes to his starting XI, dropping both his captain and vice captain. Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson were made to watch on as the Preston manager showed that senior roles mean nothing if performances aren't up to scratch. Ryan Ledson was the other man to miss out.

PNE played well in the game, they created chances and, again, should have scored more than they did.

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Parrott went through one on one after North End had taken the lead but failed to pull the trigger, Riis going through afterwards and his right footed strike was saved.

Ben Woodburn was a star performer and his first league start, until he was forced off with an injury. He looked sharp and everything he did had a clear intent about it, linking up well with Robbie Brady down the left and the pair looked like they were at a different level with their intelligence and speed.

His evening was cut short after a collision with goalkeeper Ben Wilson which will be a concern given previous ankle issues for the Welshman.

The Coventry 'keeper was in the spotlight on the night and he should have been given his marching orders. He came out of his area to trip Troy Parrott who knocked the ball past him and had the goal at mercy, but only received a yellow card.

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It was a moment that could have decided the game but the rearguard resilience that this season has so far been built on meant the extra man, that Coventry were lucky enough to keep on the pitch, was still not enough to break them down.

Alvaro Fernandez and Riis instead were the ones to decide the game, the pair a double substitution that injected life and attacking intent. Ched Evans had toiled away up front but had been poor on the night, Riis a different beast entirely.

He has a much different game and ably supported by the excellent Parrott, he caused Coventry all sorts of problems.

The goals have never been a doubt when it comes to last season's top scorer and there were some eyebrows raised with his omission from the starting line up, but he showed exactly what PNE were missing.

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If they are creating chances with him and Parrott on the pitch goals will flow, it is an inevitability.

Riis' form this season has not been great but he offers something few others at this level can, raw pace and a wrasping finish - if one doesn't get you then the other can.

PNE are now seven unbeaten in the league and the only side in the Championship yet to lose. Importantly they remain seven unbeaten, rather than four without a win. The result at Coventry could kick start their campaign, and hopefully the goals begin flowing.