Tim Mercer’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel verdict: Tough to be too critical of PNE

Daniel Johnson wasted a decent early chance for PNEDaniel Johnson wasted a decent early chance for PNE
Daniel Johnson wasted a decent early chance for PNE | World Copyright © 2020 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0
All in all, a poor show by the men in white shirts.

Luckily for us we held on to the last play-off place, as sides elsewhere in the top six, bar Leeds, also failed to shine.

But oh, how different it could have been in a highly promising opening 20 minutes or so.

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North End were dominant to such an extent that Millwall looked there for the taking in a manner normally associated with a relegation-threatened side rather than one still with play-off ambitions of their own.

In that period I can remember three good chances missed, none more so than when Tom Barkhuizen crossed to Daniel Johnson in the kind of position he loves. We all waited in anticipation of that sweet left foot of his stroking the ball home as witnessed last Saturday in Wigan.

Instead he shot at the keeper, with the rebound falling to David Nugent who then wasted this second decent opportunity by shooting high over the bar.

Those in the stands around me wondered if we would rue such good chances spurned.

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After a cup of Bovril we had our answer in the second period, with the best play dominated by Millwall as they simply grew into the game and gained confidence.

The hosts seemed out of sorts and lacked any real creativity, winning their one and only corner of the match in the last six minutes of normal time when already 1-0 down to a Millwall header from a few minutes earlier. From our good vantage point it looked suspiciously offside but the goal stood.

There was a near-equaliser in stoppage time, when substitute Paul Gallagher bent a lovely free-kick around the wall that the visiting keeper got down to well, making a fine save.

I was surprised Jayden Stockley remained an unused substitute, but it is difficult to be critical considering our position in the latter part of the season.

After all, I’m sure many of us would have taken what we have now back in August.