Sean Gregan’s exclusive column

Preston North End's Sean Maguire scores his side's equalising goal to make the score 1-1
Preston North End's Sean Maguire scores his side's equalising goal to make the score 1-1

It was a rare defeat at Deepdale for Preston North End on Saturday and they will have been disappointed how Brentford got the better of them.

When you twice score equalisers at home, you would expect to get at least a draw.

So to concede for a third time left PNE with an uphill task and they were unable to get another equaliser.

There were only a couple of minutes between Tom Barkhuizen making it 2-2 and Brentford scoring the winner.

It is often said that you are at your most vulnerable after scoring a goal.

For whatever reason, whether it is the excitement of scoring or concentration levels dip, you see it quite often that a side concedes soon after finding the net.

It is one of those things in football which no one can put their finger on.

Both of Preston’s goals were very good ones, with Sean Maguire getting the ball deep and going on a good run for his, while Barkhuizen’s was a great strike.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get the result which North End wanted.

You can score a goal at the end of a 50-pass move or you can get a scruffy one off someone’s backside – it is about scoring more than your opponents do.

While it is disappointing to lose at home, it has got to be remembered that this was North End’s first Deepdale defeat since April.

They have traditionally been strong at home down the years, something Alex Neil has continued with this season.

Preston are still handily placed in the table too, with them just two points off sixth place.

Most of the teams above them have had a dip of results at one stage or another.

Having lost at Wolves the week before – a bit unluckily it has to be said – it is vital that PNE get back to putting points on the board again as quickly as possible.

It is Aston Villa next at home on Wednesday night which should be a good game.

Obviously, North End are short of numbers at the back for various reasons, so that will give Neil some thinking to do ahead of the game.

When you have to make changes, it is best to embrace them and just get on with the game rather than worrying about who is not available.

Villa come to Deepdale in sixth place having played their rivals Birmingham on Sunday, so at least North End have had an extra day’s rest.

They are one of the big boys in the Championship, bearing in mind their history and now long they were in the Premier League for.

Villa had a difficult first season after relegation but seem to be getting their act together this year.

Hopefully North End can adapt to the changes they have to make and put in a good performance.

It should be a decent crowd – Villa will bring quite a few with them – while it is on television.

I think North End will go for it as they go in search of the three points – Neil isn’t the kind of manager to sit tight and try and snatch a point in order to put the two defeats behind them.