PNE boss delighted after his 10 men kept Wolves from the door

Alex Neil was pleased with Preston's resilience in their draw with Championship leaders Wolves.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 19th February 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Monday, 19th February 2018, 11:55 am

The Lilywhites went down to 10 men with more than half-an-hour to go when John Welsh was sent off.

Although Wolves netted their equaliser within two minutes of Welsh getting his marching orders, North End then held firm to hold on for a 1-1 draw.

Alan Browne’s fifth goal of the season had given Neil’s men the lead seven minutes into the second half.

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PNE midfielder John Welsh is shown the red card by referee Robert Jones

Welsh’s dismissal was the second red card in successive games for Preston, with Greg Cunningham sent off against Brentford.

Neil said: “The Brentford game set us up for this in a way, in that we had talked during the week about what to do if we went down to 10 men.

“The goal we conceded was a bit unfortunate in that it took a couple of ricochets to get into the lad’s path.

“Ben Davies went in for a tackle and maybe should have gone in a bit firmer.

PNE midfielder John Welsh is shown the red card by referee Robert Jones

“I don’t know if he needed to go to ground either.

“After that we defended well – we had talked in the week on shutting down the sides of the pitch and denying certain players space.

“The difficulty you have got against good footballing teams like Wolves and Brentford is adding an attacking impetus to your play with 10 men – that is really tough to do.

“Our thought process when down to 10 men is to see the game out.

“Playing for 35 minutes against a good attacking Wolves team, I thought that we defended exceptionally well.”

Welsh will miss the visit to Aston Villa tomorrow night as a result of a one-match ban which follows the red card.

There is no right of appeal against sendings-off for two yellow cards, which is frustrating as the second booking for a foul on Ivan Cavaleiro was soft to say the least – contact, if any, looked minimal.

PNE will have Ben Pearson back in the fold at Villa Park after a two-match ban, with Cunningham also available.

For the Wolves clash, Neil named 16-year-old Adam O’Reilly on the bench.

The midfielder is in his first year as a scholar at North End, having signed from Irish club Ringmahon Rangers.

They were the club Alan Browne played junior football for before joining Cork City.

Said Neil: “For the game we had Connor Simpson, Jack Baxter and Adam O’Reilly in with us, all young lads.

“Adam made the bench and if we had needed to put him on the pitch, that would not have been an issue.

“Our young lads train with us every day, they are getting better all the time.

“They are only kids but they will get there, they will be fine.”