Preston North End Fans' Panel: John Roper on importance of transfer window at PNE

On the face of it a missed opportunity at Hillsborough against an Owls side lacking in confidence and in somewhat of a crisis off the field.

Sunday, 23rd December 2018, 11:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 4:58 pm
Declan Rudd was on top form

However, a controversial red card for Ben Pearson meant that North End played almost 70 minutes with just 10 men. It was a poor game in all honesty with the home side looking down on confidence and North End just not being able to muster that counter attacking game that we saw so clearly at Nottingham two weeks ago. Yet up to the sending off I felt that North End would have enough to see off Wednesday. The home side got their goal just after the hour but never really looked liked they were going to go on and win comfortably. PNE had a few half-chances late on but never hit top gear. North End started brightly enough with two changes from the side that started last week against Millwall. Moult came in for Browne and Fisher came in for Clarke at right-back. It was 4-2-3-1 for Alex Neil’s men and we had a chance very early on but Nmecha fired straight at Westwood. We were getting plenty of the ball but quality in both boxes was seriously lacking. Pearson went for a tackle and won the ball easily but his higher trailing leg caught Mathias and Mr Coote spent no time thinking and immediately pulled out the red card. It is difficult to see how Pearson could have avoided making contact with Mathias with the momentum that was with the player. I really do think that the lad was hard done by in this instance and that his reputation went before him. Wednesday came out full blast after the break and Preston spent a while defending their own half. The situation wasn’t helped when Louis Moult went off just a couple of minutes into the second period with what looked like a hamstring injury and was replaced by Alan Browne. Man of the match Declan Rudd then made a couple of outstanding saves before the home side eventually took the lead just after the hour mark. A short corner from the Preston right found Hector in space and his glancing header went into the far corner of the net giving Rudd no chance. PNE took a while to recover from the goal but eventually we got our heads back together and started to influence the game. With the home side not knowing whether to stick or twist we started to exert some pressure on the home defence but never really found that quality ball which might have brought us something from the game. So the boys go into Christmas on a bit of a downer. However, North End are nothing if not resolute and I think Alex Neil and the boys will dust themselves down from this reverse and come out fighting against Hull City. The problem is that it will be all that the manager can do to get a team out there such is the injury list at Deepdale at the moment. PNE must deal well in the transfer window and with a couple of games coming up, we are just going to have to battle through.

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