SIX things we learned from Preston North End’s drubbing by Hull City
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North End were beaten 4-1 even though they took an early lead. Emil Riis scored the game’s first goal with Keane Lewis-Potter, Richie Smallwood, Josh Magennis and Andy Cannon scoring in reply for the Tigers.
TOM SANDELLS looks at six talking points from the game.
1. The return of fans.
Away from the pitch, there were a couple of notable moments before a ball was even kicked. First of all, after more than 500 days the Lilywhites’ faithful were back at Deepdale. They may have soon wished they hadn’t bothered, but nevertheless, they were there – with a fan zone to boot.
Finally being able to make the pilgrimage to Deepdale will mean the world to some fans. It will mean normality, a routine, socialising. All things that may be worth far more than three points at the moment.
2. A thank you to a legend.
Paul Gallagher was presented to the PNE fans before the game, alongside a guard of honour for those that will now have to respect him as their coach.
One of the biggest travesties of not having fans in the grounds is that players that have served clubs so dutifully, up and down the country, have not been able to share their final moments on a pitch with those they’ve spent so many years with.
Tom Clarke left PNE last summer with no send off.
Gallagher very nearly fell into the same category but at least there was something for him before the Hull game.
3. Rough start for Rudd.
After a lengthy lay-off that ended his previous season prematurely, Declan Rudd came back into the PNE team with plenty of question marks. None over his ability, just whether Daniel Iversen should start.
Rudd kept the gloves having had them all of pre-season and within 15 minutes, Iversen was back between the posts. Rudd ducked down to head the ball away just outside of his area, clashed with an onrushing Hull forward and was soon the first concussion substitute in the club’s history.
It meant PNE still had three further subs, and Hull had four, but it’s a tough break. After fighting back from injury and being trusted with the position, which may now be a tough one to reclaim, you must feel for the ever-likeable Rudd.
4. Off the mark.
Remaining on the pitch was Emil Riis – until half time – who scored his first goal in front of the PNE fans.
Since joining last October, unfortunately the Dane has faded from what was expected of him and how brightly he began.
However, he is off the mark for the season. Hopefully this is the start of a big season for the 23-year-old as there definitely looks to be a player in there.
5. There are 45 more to go.
There has inevitably been a bit of fallout in the wake of the defeat. All of the hope going into the campaign now dashed, a relegation dogfight a guarantee and all of the positives this team presents now non-existent.
That isn’t the case, it’s a bad day at the office, a result that needs rectifying and there needs to be changes. All valid. But in the bigger picture, and as skipper Alan Browne said post match, this one game will not define PNE’s season.
6. Moving swiftly on.
After the loss, North End can move on quickly and get a win under their belt in a competitive game.
Mansfield are up next in the Carabao Cup. It’s an opportunity for rotation, those not selected to stake a claim and a chance to put the disappointment of Saturday behind them.