The ability to take chances proves to be the difference for an uninspiring PNE.
Monday 26th December 2016 – 3pm kick off – Deepdale – Sky Bet Championship
This years festive fixture saw play-off contenders Leeds United to Deepdale. In my opinion it was Preston’s most average performance of the season. We started the game brightly, looking as if we were to play well, like we do when many ‘bigger clubs’ come to Deepdale. However Leeds’ two successive goal on 17 and 23 minutes saw Preston’s heads drop, subsequently a half hearted performance from then on.
Despite going behind 2 – 0 it didn’t look all bad as a comeback looked imminent when some lovely link up play between Browne, Makienok and Vermijl halved the deficit.
5,500 loud Leeds’ fans made trip across the Pennines to Deepdale and they were certainly well heard. This enthusiasm led to Leeds scoring a 3rd 4 minutes later to restore a 2 goal lead. A much deflated Deepdale, both the home fans and players longed for the half time whistle, in which a slightly warmer concourse awaited the fans, a half time rollocking from Grayson for the players.
The second half was much a repeat of the first, without the 4 goals, just the one for Leeds to put Preston well and truly out of the game and make it 1-4. As the half went on and the temperature dropped, so did the players interest in the game.
Another below average refereeing display angered Preston fans as a blatant handball in the area was not deemed a penalty. Another Preston penalty appeal gone unanswered by the FA officials.
Perhaps the most exciting event for the Preston fans was the double substitution where Beckford and Hugill replaced Makienok and Robinson. Beckford barely lasting 3 minutes on his return from suspension. He his second straight red in as many appearances. Rightly so, he stupidly kicked Bartley in the face after a nothing sort of challenge. Now he serves a four match ban. Utterly stupid behaviour from a player of his callibre.
This Boxing Day fixture brought in our largest league attendance in recent history. However, the fact that a third of the home crowd left before the final whistle highlighted they would not be rushing to return to Deepdale.
All in all, this was an average game with difference between teams being the ability to score goals.
Preston North End 1 – 4 Leeds United