Tim Mercer's PNE fans' panel verdict: Pride in the players' display

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
It may seem strange to say that this fan left Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening with a feeling of some pride despite the 4-0 scoreline.

I had entered the stadium with some trepidation given the pre-match comments from manager Ryan Lowe about trying to restrict the multi-millionaires in blue – and with some estimates stating their matchday squad would require nearly half a billion to buy!

However, the first-half performance by Preston was good and more attacking than expected.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yes, Chelsea still had the lion’s share of possession but were restricted to only one real full chance that failed to find the net.

Ched Evans breaks away from Chelsea's Raheem Sterling (photo: Andrew Kearns/CameraSport)Ched Evans breaks away from Chelsea's Raheem Sterling (photo: Andrew Kearns/CameraSport)
Ched Evans breaks away from Chelsea's Raheem Sterling (photo: Andrew Kearns/CameraSport)
Read More
Pochettino praises PNE energy

More encouragingly, the Lilywhites looked capable of hitting them on the counter-attack and gave the home fans a few scares before the break.

North End started the second period brightly enough but appeared to start tiring in holding off a team of clear superiority.

Seeming to sense this, the hosts stepped up a gear and three quick goals of a quality better than that typically seen in the Championship followed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Substitutions were made, to no real effect, but it was good to see Emil Riis come on and continue his return to fitness up top.

It was especially good to see young Kian Best get some minutes on the big stage.

I thought it was a good tactic by Lowe to try and get some of that magic delivery from his left foot in the hope of getting a consolation goal.

He very nearly achieved it with a sweet cross that put the Chelsea goal under some pressure with the subsequent scramble.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was not to be and we were left with the mildly historical note of this being Preston’s first game under the gaze of VAR.

Unfortunately, this meant a fourth goal disallowed by the linesman for offside was overruled by a ridiculously long wait for a final decision. If that’s typical then this fan, for one, was not impressed.

So we return to the league next Saturday with a home match against Bristol City.

A win is vital if we are to break the negativity felt due to the number of recent home losses – oh, and a decent performance wouldn’t go amiss either!