Ben Davies' big moment for PNE

A landmark moment got lost in the aftermath of Preston's poor display in the Deepdale draw with Birmingham.

Preston defender Ben Davies celebrates his goal against Birmingham
Preston defender Ben Davies celebrates his goal against Birmingham

It is almost got forgotten that Ben Davies scored his first goal in PNE colours, almost five years on from his debut.

Mitigating circumstances for his lack of goals come in the shape of limited game-time until this term, having been out on loan at five clubs.

Davies, 22, found the net in the 17th minute of the Birmingham clash. He was on hand at the far post to knock the ball into the net from close range after Blues central defender Marc Roberts had inadvertently headed Paul Gallagher’s free-kick across the face of the box.

The Barrow lad had little chance to celebrate it though, with injury forcing him out of the action at half-time.

Afterwards, the focus was almost inquest-like as the bones of the below-par show were picked over.

Davies made his Preston debut as a 17-year-old against Coventry on January 25, 2013.

It came in the last few weeks of Graham Westley’s reign, when he played three games in a row at left-back.

The following season he spent on loan at York City, making 47 appearances as the Minstermen reached the League Two play-offs.

He started as North End’s first-choice left-back in the 2014/15 promotion season.

After losing his place, PNE loaned him out to Tranmere for a month.

In 2015/16, Davies went on loan first to Southport and then to Newport County.

Twenty games for the Welsh side in a relegation scrap was a learning curve.

Davies made huge strides forward at Fleetwood in the second half of last season.

During his time there, he scored his only other senior goal in a 1-0 win over Millwall.

He could well have made the move to the Lancashire coast full-time in the summer had there not been a change of manager at Deepdale.

Alex Neil had scouted him for Norwich when Davies was at Fleetwood. Liking what he saw, Neil gave him his chance early in the season and he has not looked back – making the left-sided slot in the centre of defence his own.

Only an appendicitis which required surgery halted his run in the team in October.

Davies became North End’s 12th scorer this season and the third centre-half to find the net in recent weeks following on from Tom Clarke and Paul Huntington.