John Roper's Preston North End fans' panel verdict on Carrow Road defeat

I wonder if those on the red button found this game as dull as the 320 North End fans basking in the late summer sunshine inside Carrow Road.

Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 12:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 1:25 pm
Callum Robinson (left) and Norwich City's Moritz Leitner battle for the ball

This was certainly PNE’s worst performance for some time as we failed to take advantage of a very nervous Norwich side, who eventually took all the points with two late goals.

Some would say that the game might well have been very different if Robinson’s shot had gone in instead of hitting the bar.

But I thought Norwich were the better of two bad teams throughout the game and deserved their win against a frighteningly lacklustre North End.

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Clearly the issue in Norfolk was putting the ball in the net and with the loan market still available I feel North End must add to the strike force in the next seven days.

North End started the game playing 4-4-2 with Louis Moult and Lukas Nmecha up front.

Much discussion was taking place around whether the manager worries too much about the opposition when naming his team but to be fair to Alex Neil he gets his team selection right many more times than he gets it wrong.

PNE started well enough but there was little to show in an opening 20 minutes where both teams looks decidedly off their game.

Nmecha had a shot well saved from Tim Krul in the home goal and as the rebound fell to Fisher he put his effort way over the top much to the delight of the home crowd.

One or two half-chances went to the home side but it is not a 45 minutes that will feature in the end of season highlights.

North End had the first chance of the second half with a Moult header but the game quickly reverted to the style of the first half .

Preston looked powder-puff on the evening and I cannot remember when we last lost as many 50/50 balls in the centre of the field.

I certainly don’t blame Browne and Pearson for that but other players were very lightweight when it came to making their presence felt.

As the game wore on the home side began to take more control and even the substitution of Johnson for Moult did little to improve North End. Finally the deadlock was broken when Pukki fired home with 10 minutes to go with a shot across Rudd.

The Canaries added insult to injury with three minutes to go when Tettey fired through a crowd of players to secure the points for Norwich.

A very poor showing by North End on the night and to be honest the game looked a nailed on 0-0 for 80 minutes.

It is very important not to get too extreme in our judgement of what we saw at Carrow Road as the season is only four league games old.

However it is fairly obvious, and has been for some time, than North End need a striker and need one soon.

The players will be hurting after that performance and no doubt a positive result at Derby on Saturday will make things a whole lot better from a North End perspective.

The boys need to dust themselves down and go again in a couple of days and the powers that be at Deepdale need to highlight to the owner how critical it is to get some more firepower in before that loan window closes.