Time to stay positive and not get on the manager and his players' backs: Preston fan John Roper urges Deepdale faithful to keep believing

The first thing to say is that mass criticism of the manager and the players, with just nine games to go, serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever in my opinion.

Sunday, 8th March 2020, 2:18 pm
Updated Monday, 9th March 2020, 8:17 am
Preston players look dejected after QPR take control of proceedings

The game was a classic tale of a game of two halves with North End on their way to a comfortable victory at half time only to turn in, what can only be described as, an abysmal performance in the second half.

For part of that second half North End were only playing against ten men but, somehow, completely lost their way after the break to leave thousands leaving Deepdale as QPR turned the tables completely to score three goals in the second half.

The subs didnt really influence the game in the way we might have hoped and there is no doubt that Ben Pearson is a huge miss in the centre of the park.

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However QPR are no world beaters and the players and staff need to find the solution to what went wrong after the break, and quickly.

North End started in good fashion with a side that had two changes from last week with Paul Gallagher and Josh Harrop coming in for Brad Potts and David Nugent.

North End forced a corner within a minute and we really looked like we meant business on an early Spring afternoon at Deepdale.

The much-maligned Sean Maguire shot across the keeper and hit the post in what would have been a great filip for the Irish striker. North End continued to dominate and a move down the right hand channel saw Darnell Fisher upended in the box.

The resulting penalty was cooly converted by Daniel Johnson and all in the Deepdale garden seemed very rosy at this point in the game.

North End saw off a five minute flurry from the visitors and going into the break I think most inside the ground were confident that this would be our day and three points would be secured.

The visitors made a couple of changes at half time, Mark Warburton giving his subs time to get into the game and have some influence on the outcome. Again we started reasonably well but just after the hour mark The O`s were back in the game as a free kick on the right found Hall at the back post to knock it home with the help of some atrocious defending by North End.

Two minutes later Maguire headed over the keeper only for his header to come back off the bar and the chance had gone. Rangers were down to ten men when Cameron was sent off but it was the away side that were galvanised as North End withered to nothing in the last quarter of the game.

Manning gave QPR the lead with a sweet shot with ten minute to go and, man of the match, Eze, curled in a beautiful third near the end. North End had a huge shout for a penalty on Stockley but it was all to no avail and our afternoon of embarrassment was complete.

Three defeats on the trot and four out of the last five do not make good reading for North End fans as we now enter that final crucial stage of the season. We collapsed around this time last season winning only one of our last eight games to finish 14th and Alex Neil has a big job on his hands this week to get the players believing in themselves and get prepared for a huge game at Kenilworth Road next Saturday afternoon.

We badly lacked a leader on the field yesterday and have done in several recent games but as I said at the outset this is not a time for wholesale criticism of what is currently the state of play at Deepdale.

There will be plenty of time for an inquest when the season is over but right now it is about hard work on the training ground and the all inside the club plus the fans sticking together through these last nine games. It isn’t over yet, not by a long chalk.