Preston North End Fans' Panel: John Smith's verdict on PNE's defeat at Hillsborough
Owls are predators feared by many other birds but with only one win in their last 10 matches, the ones of Sheffield Wednesday should have held little fear.
And before the game I was confident of picking up at least a point which would have continued our flight towards the top end of the table. In last seasons visit we had an ’Owler here when a 4-1 defeat had dented our play-off hopes and had also been our fourth successive loss at this famous, but now looking a bit dated, old stadium. Owls fans I spoke to before the game were buoyed by the sacking of their manager less than 24 hours before kick-off but I personally thought that they would be there for the taking, even though our side was still heavily depleted with injuries. The dynamics of the game changed midway through the first half when the Ben Pearson locked feet with an opponent in the middle of the park, just like a bearded vulture would on its prey. I thought the challenge was maybe a yellow-card offence as contact was made but his past disciplinary record and previous relationship with the opposition fans, plus the fact that the injured player rolled about like my cat would while waiting for her tummy to be tickled contributed enormously to the game-changing decision. It ruined it as a spectacle for the vocal travelling fans who had opted to follow their team across the Pennines instead of going Christmas shopping with the missus. After Wednesday scored we did try to get back in the game and showed no shortage of effort but with 10 men it was just too big of a mountain to climb. My man of the match was Declan Rudd who made at least four outstanding saves which kept the game live for us until the end.