Preston North End were just too good for Blackpool in their derby day win

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It was derby day delight for Preston North End on Saturday as they beat Blackpool 3-1 at Deepdale.
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PNE 3-1 Blackpool match report – Derby day redemption

Goals from Brad Potts, Ben Whiteman and Tom Cannon gave Ryan Lowe's side all three points, with Jerry Yates managing a late consolation for the Seasiders with just a few minutes of the match remaining.

The win was no less than PNE deserved, they were a cut above Blackpool on the day.

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Preston North End's Tom Cannon scores his side's third goalPreston North End's Tom Cannon scores his side's third goal
Preston North End's Tom Cannon scores his side's third goal

It was a huge game in their season and they could not afford to lose twice to their local rivals, they also had to win to make sure Blackpool didn't spend the season unbeaten against the Lilywhites.

They delivered. There is a lot to be said about a side that is able to handle that sort of pressure and they have done so now for two seasons in a row, so credit where it is due. Perhaps just win the first one next time as well...

That might not be possible next season though, as it looks like Blackpool will be heading back to League One at the end of their second season in the second tier.

North End fans will undoubtedly enjoy the fact that Saturday's defeat has added another nail to the coffin for the Tangerines.

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Preston North End's Alan Browne celebrates after the matchPreston North End's Alan Browne celebrates after the match
Preston North End's Alan Browne celebrates after the match

In truth, Blackpool offered very little in the match and it was a stroll for PNE to put their rivals away at times.

Indeed, if North End had been more clinical and ruthless the scoreline could have looked even uglier for the visitors but it seemed like the home side took their foot off the gas at points during the game.

Preston were very good - granted not up against much - but it also takes quality to make it look as easy as it did.

There was a bit of tension to start the game but once the first goal went in that quickly disappeared and PNE were in pole position, where they stayed throughout the afternoon.

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Potts apparently does not score tap ins and he lasered the ball into the far corner to open the scoring. The celebrations themselves are still being celebrated now, never mind the goal, and the North End players showed what the game meant to them in their reactions to the breakthrough – in front of the away support. Credit to Potts too for not wasting his celebration only on the away fans, as he put it...

Whiteman's free kick was a moment of quality as it bent around the wall and arrowed into the bottom corner and Cannon's finish off the inside of the post is that of a quality marksman.

The level of ability involved in all of Preston's goal was something that Blackpool just couldn't muster.

Everyone in blue and white played well on the day but special mention must go to Alan Browne. The North End skipper was left out in the reverse fixture but was exceptional in PR1. He led from the front and barely put a foot wrong all game, he battled for every ball - most often coming away with it - but also had the class on the ball to beat a man.

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He nearly set PNE away to score in the second half, and failing that, went one better just seconds later to kill off the game. The win will mean as much to him as it will to any fan stood on the terraces and he delivered and then some.

The whole of the midfield did their bit, Daniel Johnson and Whiteman playing alongside Browne in the centre. Johnson seemed to spend the afternoon a step ahead of everyone else and at times it was almost like he’s stolen the younger boys’ ball with the way he kept it away from desperate Blackpool defenders as he glided past them.

Whiteman was always in the right place at the right time to disrupt attacks and more importantly keep possession for PNE.

The way the home side kept the ball, particularly in the first half, was as good as we’ve seen at Deepdale this season. The home fans shouting ‘ole!’ for each pass after only about half an hour says everything about their dominance and proficiency in possession.

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It will leave the North End fans wanting more, and wanting it with more consistency, but at least for now, we can all celebrate another wonderful derby win at home.

Ryan Lowe rightly reverted back to his usual 3-5-2 formation and when his side are able to control the midfield, it gives them multiple options in the way they can attack. Their wide centre backs were able to get forward on Saturday, so too their wing backs, centre midfielders and of course the strikers. It means there are several options for a man on the ball and also several people that defenders have to look out for.

Preston’s season was in danger of going out with a whimper when they slipped into the bottom half but being one of only two sides in the top half that managed a win on Saturday, it shows that with a strong end to the season, anything can happen.

There’s five points in it as things stand and they next go to a Queens Park Rangers side in freefall. The last time PNE played Blackpool they won four of their next five, including three in a row straight after. It would take something similar to keep them in the hunt for the top six but it’s not impossible.

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The three wins mentioned were done with starring performances from Ched Evans, who we will not see again this season. A hammer blow for PNE, it was confirmed post match that he is now out for the forseeable future.

That leaves an opportunity for Troy Parrott or Liam Delap to step up in the next seven games.