Preston supporter John Roper felt there were too many familiar failings in the defeat to Rotherham
A much changed North End went down by two goals to one against a well organised Rotherham side but we were made to pay for a series of missed chances in the first half of the game.
Manager Alex Neil made five changes to the side but that played no part in conceding a goal before a North End player had touched the ball.
We then started to grow in stature with Anthony Gordon looking dangerous in the first half and Ched Evans playing a very traditional role at centre forward and having a decent impact on the game.
The second goal 10 minutes into the second half always looked like it would be enough and although Evans pulled one back 10 minutes later we just didn’t make the chances after the break that we had done in the first half.
The manager used all five subs but it wasn’t to be as North End lost at home for the eighth time this season.
North End got off to the worse possible start and were a goal down within 17 seconds of the start of the game.
North End had not had a touch as Rotherham forced a cross from the right hand side which eluded everybody except Joe Rafferty who headed the ball into his own net for a nightmare start for North End. It took us a while to recover but after 15 minutes we started to get the ball down and Lindsay had North End’s first chance.
A Gordon free kick then just went wide as North End upped the pressure on the Millers. We had four chances in four minutes just after the half hour mark as the visitors’ goal led a charmed life.
A Whiteman free kick came back off the post and along the goal line to safety. North End just couldn’t score in a half they eventually dominated but the finishing would have to improve if we were to get something from the game.
No changes for the manager at half-time but it was the Millers who started the better in the second half and took the game right from the whistle. I think that the Rotherham management thought another goal in the second half would be enough to win the game and so it proved as Wiles scored a simple goal.
The defending was poor that cannot be denied and North End suddenly found themselves in deep trouble. In the 65 minute Evans challenge with the keeper for a cross and as the ball dropped at his feet he fired home his first goal for North End on his full league debut.
The manager immediately put three pairs of fresh legs on as North End went for the equaliser. We had plenty of the play but the game had become stretched and we started to look just as likely to concede as we did to equalise.
To be fair, we gave it a real go late on but Rotherham comfortably held out for their third win in four games. Under normal circumstances it would be yet another defeat to a side that we really should have beaten at home on all known form.
On this occasion, though, I think there is some mitigation to be had in terms of questioning the managers selections and tactics. No one could plan for conceding a goal in less than 20 seconds and to be fair we played some decent stuff for twenty five minutes in the first half.
Gordon looked good before he quickly tired after the break and Evans, love him or loathe him, led the line well and his link up play, in the first half at least, was very good. We also lost Huntington to injury with 20 minutes left so goodness knows what team will be available for the big game against Blackburn on Friday evening live on SKY.
However the biggest mitigation I can offer for this defeat is that if you sell your best players, and don’t replace them with similar quality, you eventually start dropping the league table. Here endeth the first lesson.