Three talking points from Preston North End's draw with Fulham
Preston North End got a deserved point against league leaders Fulham and it could be argued their second-half performance merited three points.
A point was a decent enough return, it coming on the back of last Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Middlesbrough.
Ched Evans scored a 72nd minute equaliser after Tim Ream had put the Cottagers ahead in the first half at Deepdale.
Here are three of the talking points from the clash which moved PNE on to 25 points for the season.
1. Players coming in to take their chance. Ched Evans and Liam Lindsay have not featured much on the team sheet this season for differing reason.
Both dropped out of the team following the defeat at Huddersfield in August, Evans with a foot injury and Lindsay having to isolate.
Evans’ recovery from plantar fasciitis was a lengthy one, with him returning to action at Middlesbrough.
Two goals in two games from the bench have shown what an influence Evans can be in the team. Lindsay found himself kicking his heels on the sidelines due to the form of others.
An injury to Patrick Bauer handed Lindsay a way back in against Fulham, his task to keep Aleksandar Mitrovic in check. Lindsay did his task well, Serbia international Mitrovic subdued.
2. The attendance. It was a season-low 9,838 crowd on Saturday, which included 886 Fulham fans.
Less than 9,000 home fans recorded in the gate is a concern, albeit with one or two mitigating factors.
The game was live on Sky Sports, a lunchtime kick-off and it was damn cold.
It’s hard to find a comparison because rarely in recent seasons has a home game been given a 12.30pm start time on Sky.
But there’s no arguing the attendance was well below average, whatever the circumstances.
Whether it is apathy from some of the previous results or a knock-on affect from the 17 months when the turnstiles were padlocked, we can only guess.
3. Tom Barkhuizen’s injury. It was worrying to see him leave Deepdale wearing a protective boot and on crutches.
The challenge on him by Antonee Robinson merited a red card but ref Chris Kavanagh felt that yellow sufficed.
Former PNE boss Alex Neil and ex-Millwall manager Neil Harris who were on pundit duty, both thought it was a sending-off offence.
The scissor type movement from Robinson was unnecessary and surely fell into the endangering an opponent category.
Mr Kavanagh had the yellow card out quickly when he needed to give himself a bit more thinking time. He’s a Premier League official and doesn’t have the assistance of VAR to help him.
The assistant on that side who had a good view, appeared to give a corner.