What a welcome contrast says Preston North End fans’ panel’s Tim Mercer
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The contrast to the trepidation felt going into the match last Saturday could not have been greater by time one of the worst referees seen at this level for many years blew the final whistle.
Deepdale was buzzing again in a way this fan feared had been lost in recent seasons and was in part due to the non-stop aggressive press that the players were still using in stoppage time.
They harried and chased down every ball to win back possession and wasted no time in their forward play with quick and incisive passes mixed in with good use of the long ball if required.
By the end, the visitors looked ragged and exhausted and could not wait to get off that famous old turf and into the sanctuary of the dressing room.
For any neutral watching the opening 20 minutes or so, they may have been surprised by the way game shifted so clearly towards the home side after the visitors took the lead.
Up to that point the Lilywhites could not get hold of the ball as Swansea took the lead. Within a couple of minutes, Sepp van den Berg had equalised and the rout began. In first-half stoppage time, Riis powered in a wonderful strike that nearly broke the net after good build-up play down the left wing. The third and final goal by Ben Whiteman came from a free-kick.
Whilst it’s too early to know if this is a turning point, the recently formed Preston Supporters’ Collective has already had success in persuading the club to set-up a fans’ zone as it seeks increase engagement with the powers that be.
If the players continue to show the kind of commitment evident on Saturday, these two halves can only complement each other and get Deepdale bouncing once more.