Five things we learned from Preston North End's 1-1 draw at Hull City
Louis Moult's late goal handed Preston North End a point at Hull City on Saturday.
Alex Neil’s side were far from their best with the hosts hitting the woodwork on three occasions.
But equalising in the third minute of stoppage time will help keep some of the momentum that they have built up in recent weeks going.
Below we have a look at the main talking points.
Still some way to go to turn season around
The performance against Wigan may have been PNE at their best but it is clear that there’s still plenty of work to do to really get this campaign going. Alex Neil said beforehand that league positions went out of the window in Humberside on Saturday but in terms of the spectacle this really was 24th against 22nd. It was low on quality with plenty of misplaced passes and poor bits of play from both sides. Hull had by far the better of the chances, hitting the woodwork on three occasions. Despite a bright start North End never really got going and nearly paid the penalty late on, needing Louis Moult to come to the rescue after Jarrod Bowen had scored from the spot
Moult can be a factor for PNE
He’s not found is easy during his time at Deepdale but in recent weeks Moult has done exactly what has been asked of him. He came on at Aston Villa and after being asked to score the winner by his manager nearly did just that. And here at the KCOM Stadium he was a handful from the moment he came on. One header was saved by David Marshall before he got a second chance, Moult taking Darnell Fisher’s cross and hammering the ball home in the third moment of stoppage time. The front man is doing all he can to make sure he’s in the manager’s thinking at the moment.
Alex Neil just can’t pick a settled side
Having chopped and changed for the early part of the season for a variety of reasons, the PNE boss hoped he was getting close to naming a consistent starting XI. He was always going to be without the suspended Ben Pearson at Hull but injury ruled out Toms Clarke and Barkhuizen while illness meant Callum Robinson only made the bench. It was the last thing Neil needed, but he had able deputies in Ben Davies, Ryan Ledson, Brandon Barker and Sean Maguire. It was disjointed performance though with a bright start quickly fading into some really sloppy play at times. A stable XI is surely the key to success down the line.
Sean Maguire will need time
Would Sean Maguire have started had Callum Robinson not been battling illness? It’s tough to say. But the Irishman is clearly going to take time to reach full sharpness. He showed flashes in the first-half, one break down the right that nearly resulted in a goal for Lukas Nmecha particularly catching the eye. On other occasions though it was evident that he’s some way short of full match fitness. He moved across the frontline to little success before being replaced by Paul Gallagher midway through the second half. His time will come.
Alan Browne leads from the front
Captain for the first time, the midfielder certainly looks a good fit for the role. In recent weeks he has spoken off the field like a real leader and he displayed those qualities on the pitch at the KCOM Stadium. While his team flattered to deceive Browne remained all industry and tried to drag his side on. After taking a bang on the head in the second half the skipper dropped into a deeper role and continued to battle. He also nearly provided a goal for Moult, the striker’s header being tipped over after a fine cross to the back post. Thankfully for PNE, they didn’t have to wait much longer to level things up.