Three talking points from Preston North End's Championship draw with Cardiff City

Preston North End played out a 0-0 draw with Cardiff City on Saturday, as neither side could break the deadlock.

By Tom Sandells
Sunday, 13th March 2022, 4:45 pm

The Lilywhites had chances, Daniel Johnson seeing an effort saved when one on one and Alan Browne slipping at the inopportune moment.

TOM SANDELLS looks at three talking points from the game in South Wales.

1. Lacking the cutting edge.

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Preston North End's Alan Browne bursts into the box.

North End, not for the first time this season, or even in previous seasons, were left wanting when it came to finding the back of the net.

They did their best, they started their top scorer Emil Riis who has bagged 17 already this season and current hot shot Cameron Archer alongside him.

They had much more of the ball than Cardiff, 58 per cent of it, and yet could not make it tell.

In their defence, the game was not a classic. Cardiff struggled in the same way as North End did and the introduction of Ikpeazu was the only thing that brought the Bluebirds into life.

PNE did not create one clear chance in the game, they had a couple of good chances but even those came from a little bit of fortune – for example as Johnson bundled the ball past a couple on the edge of the box. They never carved open their hosts.

There were a couple of crosses that went begging across the face of goal, but that was the closest PNE came to really creating.

Those sorts of games will happen – but it was their undoing.

One of the big decisions for PNE manager Ryan Lowe going into the game was who he would start up front. Emil Riis came off the bench in the last game against Bournemouth to score the winner, his 17th goal of the season.

It gave Lowe a selection headache that Riis has shown great promise from his substitute appearances, his pace and willingness to run in behind has been the undoing of many a defence throughout the season and no more so than late on.

Lowe was toying with the idea of starting the Dane against the Cherries and decided against it, instead going with Ched Evans but it was role reversed on Saturday.

However, it did not seem to be the right call.

Cardiff’s defence were big and physical, for the most part, and generally played quite direct. It’s the sort of defence that Evans can disrupt and present scraps for others to feed off around him as loose balls drop.

With Riis and Archer up front there was little for them to worry about, North End did not have the space to exploit in behind and the Bluebirds defence was able to stay settled.

Starting Evans and letting Riis profit from tired legs looks more the way to go.

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3. Injuries.

There were a couple of causes of concern on Saturday as Liam Lindsay, Alan Browne and Bambo Diaby all picked up knocks.

Lindsay hurt his ankle, Browne his groin and Diaby got cramp in his calf.

Game time seems to catching up to the latter after two years out meanwhile the other two hopefully won’t be too serious.

Browne would be the biggest concern and miss as he has been key to Ryan Lowe’s system since he arrived in December.

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