Tom Sandells looks at the talking points from Preston's defeat to Rotherham United
The Millers scored inside the opening 20 seconds, Joe Rafferty turning the ball into his own net, before doubling their lead in the second half through Ben Wiles.
Ched Evans made it 2-1 but PNE failed to find another goial. TOM SANDELLS looks at six talking points from Deepdale.
1. Take your chances.
North End had more than enough in the game to take all three points, never mind drawing level.
The biggest chance of the game came from Tom Barkhuizen who from six yards out could only direct the ball at the goalkeeper, under no pressure.
Those sorts of chance will not present themselves very often and must be taken.
It should be the bread and butter of any forward.
The issue doesn’t start and end with the no.29, Ched Evans also saw a header saved and had Scott Sinclair held his line slightly better a lovely worked move would have been capped with a goal.
2. Defend better.
There was too much space for Rotherham to pick out their second goal and their opener coming in the opening second from kick off is calamitous.
It was a reworked back line, with Alan Browne out injured, Liam Lindsay in for his debut and first game of the season and Joe Rafferty back in at right back.
3. Unlucky number seven.
The defeat to Rotherham made it one win in seven games for the Lilywhites across all competitions.
It’s a sorry run of form, even if there have been draws in there.
If the target of PNE is to make the play-offs, of which they were so close to for the majority of last season, then these sorts of runs aren’t okay.
4. A settling in period.
We’re just coming away from one of the most active windows in PNE’s recent history.
Eight players left and eight came in last month.
The players are not robots and it will take time for them to get used to PR1 if they’re new and their new teammates if they’re not.
Alex Neil has held players back in the past to learn his system and some are coming in with little game time in the bank. North End started the game poorly but grew into it until half time,
that showed the players began to learn each other’s game a bit.
But as things tailed off in the second half for certain players, it shows their lack of match fitness. There will be more to come.
5. Leading the line well.
Ched Evans made his Deepdale debut against Rotherham and he led the line manfully.
He was physical, mobile and alert inside the area.
He deservedly got his goal and almost had another had his header not drawn out a good save from Viktor Johansson. The no.9 position has been ineffective at times for PNE but if that’s a sign of things to come, then it’s a good omen for the former Fleetwood man.
6. Rovers on the horizon.
A poor result against a side battling against relegation, what comes next?
A derby against a side that easily beat you 3-0 on your own turf earlier in the season.
PNE’s defence is looking shaky as they settle right now, Rovers are known for scoring plenty of goals.
There will be mini battles within the contest, with Everton loanee Anthony Gordon battling Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott for the spotlight, but it’s also a huge opportunity.
See off Tony Mowbray’s men and it could be a massive lift for Neil’s side and a catalyst for the second part of their season.