The 4 talking points from Preston North End's 0-0 draw with Huddersfield Town

Preston North End were held by Huddersfield Town to a 0-0 draw at The John Smith’s Stadium.
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There was very little in the way of action in the game, North End failing to land a shot on target whereas the Terriers only shot of the game did hit the target, from range and never troubling Declan Rudd.

The draw means PNE lose further ground from the play-offs thanks to Cardiff City’s late winner against Bristol City.

Here are four talking points from the game.

Ryan Ledson in action for PNE.Ryan Ledson in action for PNE.
Ryan Ledson in action for PNE.

1. Still not finding the goal formula.

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North End have only scored five goals in their last ten games, two of those coming in the same game against Hull City.

Aside from not actually finding the net, they don’t really look like they will either.

Sometimes teams can create chances and just not have the luck, that’s not the case.

A fluidity and poise is lacking, both qualities that we have seen from the Lilywhites this season.

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Again Alex Neil tried something different, Josh Harrop coming in and Tom Barkhuizen starting centrally, but it proved fruitless.

There is build up at times, and good possession and movement leading into the final third, but they seem to lack the ruthless killer instinct that is required, especially when the goals aren’t flowing.

However it happens, that scoring streak needs to be rediscovered if there is any hope left of reaching the play-offs.

2. Chances given to fringe players.

Ryan Ledson and Josh Harrop were notable inclusions in Saturday’s team, having had to be patient for their chances.

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Harrop has looked bright when appearing as a substitute and deserved his opportunity in Yorkshire.

He started the game brightly and won some set pieces but did tail off.

That longevity in a game can come with getting minutes under the belt.

He’s more accustomed to short, sharp bursts when playing for North End of late so with longer stints on the pitch we may see more prolonged liveliness.

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Ledson on the other hand very nearly lasted the piece, but for him also tailing off, this time due to injury.

Nothing serious, but the former Oxford midfielder cramped up 10 minutes before the end.

That is to be expected when it’s his first start in seven months, lockdown included.

He showed tenacity and energy and certainly something to build on - alongside Ben Pearson rather than instead of him.

3. It was a better performance.

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There were obvious issues in PNE’s performance against Huddersfield but on the whole it was very clear that it was an improved performance.

They dominated the game and limited the opposition to just one shot throughout.

Neil took the approach of tightening up and being harder to beat, going back to basics, which worked. There was only going to be one winner, although the same was said right up to the final minutes in Luton.

North End’s defence has looked porous at best but that was rectified, admittedly from the Scot, potentially at the cost of attacking play.

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It’s another point on the board though and ends a run of defeats - now to start winning.

4. No fan noise despite the option.

Alex Neil mentioned post match that he was surprised that there was no fan noise artificially played into the ground like at Kenilworth Road.

When it came to the home games, it wasn’t allowed due to Sky broadcasting the game but the option was back for the trip to Huddersfield.

His team thrives on momentum and atmosphere, and while he does acknowledge that it is the same for everyone, the 39-year-old was disappointed the option wasn’t taken.

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Step forward Danny Cowley. The Town boss speaking after the game said that he chose to have it silent, preferring to shout at his players than to be drowned out.

Knowing that North End are a high energy, high press side, could it have been a bit of gamesmanship to take some of the sting out of the contest?

The home side’s plan certainly was to contain and frustrate and with Neil describing the game as ‘dead’ at times it would certainly help towards that aim...