Still much work to do for Preston boss Ryan Lowe, says supporter John Roper

This was a game that told us, and the manager, more about what we don’t have at Deepdale, than what we do and that there is still plenty work ahead for Ryan Lowe and his team in the weeks and months to come

By John Roper
Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 1:00 pm

A game that never threatened to reach any dizzy heights and was settled by a thunderbolt of a shot from Swansea defender Ryan Manning. Swansea just about shaded the first half although North End probably had the two best chances.

However, poor finishing meant that the sides went in level at half-time. Six minutes in to the second half Manning’s shot gave Iversen no chance and with that the three points were staying in South Wales.

The manager shuffled the pack a little in search for the equaliser and although North End did threaten of a few occasions towards the end we never really looked like troubling the scorer and another game was gone.

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Emil Riis in action against Swansea

Ryan Lowe made three changes to the starting line up from the draw against Sheffield United on Tuesday evening with Greg Cunningham, Tom Barkhuizen and Ched Evans replacing Andrew Hughes, Brad Potts and Scott Sinclair.

Swansea started the brighter and had a chance as early as the second minute but couldn’t convert and North End gradually came into the game as the first half wore on.

Evans had a fine header tipped over and Daniel Johnson missed the target altogether from long range when an errant kick from the Swansea goalkeeper came his way.

The game was very much a midfield battle for most of the remainder of the first half as both sides struggled to find that killer pass that would open up the opposition defence.

Eight minutes from the break. Matthew Olosunde replaced Barkhuizen who received a knock in a tackle near the half-way line.

No changes for North End at the break and it was the visitors who had the first two half chances through Ben Whiteman and a blocked shot from Johnson.

After 51 minutes, the home side scored the goal that was ultimately to win the points when Manning hit a fierce unchallenged strike from distance which gave Daniel Iversen in the North End goal little chance as it thundered into the back of the net.

Lowe then swapped Emil Riis for Sinclair but once again Sinclair had little overall impact on proceedings and, on reflection, Sean Maguire may well have been a better option in the circumstances.

North End went to a back four in search of the equaliser but the nearest we got was a Ryan Ledson shot through a crowd of players that was actually blocked by Cunningham and went out for a goal kick.

North End rallied a little late on but it wasn’t to be and the home side probably deserved their victory.

The cynics may say that is now four games without a win and there have been goal concessions in all of the games so far since Lowe took control. Both of those statements are facts.

However, for me, not one jot of blame lies at the feet of Ryan Lowe. He has come into a squad heavy on mediocrity but with a core of very decent Championship players.

It may take Ryan 60 games to get it how he wants it, never mind six, such has been Preston North End over the last few years.

We have seen many games like this encounter at Swansea over the last couple of years and just how you expect different outcomes with the same squad is a question many may well be asking.

There is a really good feeling running through North End at the moment both on and off the field, and long may it continue, but we do need fresh blood in soon and especially someone who can hit the bullseye more often that not.

Perhaps an archer is the answer because for the 339 hardy souls who made it to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday the narrative was universal in that we need a goalscorer and we need one now.

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