What do our Preston North End fans panel make of the latest defeat?

What do our Preston North End fans\ panel make of the latest defeat?

Dave Seddons Preston North End verdict: Sieve of a defence is the root of the problem

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Albion moved to the top of the Championship table with a 3-2 win away at Preston North End on Saturday. Here, we rate the players.

Overshadowed by the heroics from his opposite number and was wrong-footed by Andrew Hughess free-kick, which he thought was going over the wall rather than around it. Little he could have done about the second, and his distribution was impressive. 6/10

The main outlet for Albion in possession, he stepped up the pitch with the ball well and normally found a team member with his pass. Defensively sound at the back, until the last couple of minutes of injury time, but on the whole, an assured performance. 7/10

Apart from one misjudged back-pass that went out for a corner, the big Egyptian had a blemish-free game. Mopped up everything at the back and headed danger clear on countless occasions. After a poor start to the season, hes found some form recently. 8/10

Looked more comfortable in possession and like Dawson, was willing to move forward with the ball. Was dominant in the air too, particularly towards the end of the game, but might have given away a penalty in the second half after a tangle of legs with Brandon Barker. 6/10

It was always going to be difficult living up to Matt Phillips, and Mears lacked presence in the first half, although his team-mates rarely brought him into play. Better after half-time, and helped set up a chance that nearly led to a penalty. 5/10

Continues to impress this season. Always looking to be on the ball, whether it was dropping deep to help the defenders or moving further up the pitch. Set up Barnes in the first half, and clipped in the cross for Rodriguezs headed goal. 8/10

Tidy on the ball but struggled to get to grips with the pace of the game, particularly in a pedestrian first half. Overshadowed by Livermores industry, and now hes 37, his game-time needs to be managed. Expect Chris Brunt on Wednesday. 5/10

Was a regular option over on the left hand side but struggled to get in behind his man. Didnt come to life until the last 30 minutes, and picked up a silly yellow card in the first half for wrestling the ball away from Fisher to take a throw. 6/10

Might have scored when Livermore put him through on goal, although he was under pressure and falling over. Looked bright when he got on the ball, but struggled to find as much space as he has done previously. Quieter than usual, but still a threat. 6/10

Even though he was decent enough to admit his header came off his shoulder, he deserved it for getting in front of his man. That move epitomised his hard-working performance, which was capped off when he sought out a young fan afterwards to give him his shirt. Top scorer with seven goals. 8/10

Nearly won another penalty but strayed a centimetre offside, and then whipped a free-kick into the top corner from 30 yards. And that wasnt a lucky hit because Darren Moore confirmed afterwards that he practises them every day. It atoned for his earlier foul on the edge of his own box that led to Prestons equaliser, but he deserves credit for tracking back. Six goals from eight league starts, why on earth did Newcastle let him leave?! 8/10

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The manager, the owner, the advisor, formations and tactics have all come under scrutiny in response to what has been a dreadful first two months of the season.

Whatever direction your accusing finger is pointed in, the common factor is that PNE are heading into October with a paltry five points from 10 league outings.

Bearing in mind three of those were gathered on the opening afternoon, things have headed south alarmingly.

Saturdays defeat to West Bromwich Albion was their fourth league reverse on the bounce and brought a poor September to a finish.

Do you take some comfort from the fact that Alex Neils men matched their visitors for parts of the game, only for a drop in concentration and a bit of luck to go against them?

Or is it rather alarming that the Lilywhites have not been terrible this season but still find themselves propping up the rest?

They were better against Albion than they had been when beaten by Reading, Leeds and Sheffield United over the last fortnight.

But it was still not enough to avoid another defeat and a fragile confidence is there to see, the by-product of a poor run of results.

For 45 minutes they were solid, largely keeping at arms length a Baggies side who had arrived from the Midlands scoring at will.

Chris Maxwell had to come to the rescue twice with good saves but North End were not without their chances either, Ryan Ledson striking the post with the scoreline goalless.

They chased an equaliser and got one, only to concede in the most unfortunate of circumstances just two minutes later.

A late third Albion goal was to effectively clinch the win for Albion, an injury-time header from Alan Browne too late in the day to affect the result.

The debate over whether enough money has been invested in the squad is one which will continue to run for some time – one look at the table will suggest not and add weight to the argument of those who feel North End were somewhat left behind in the transfer market over the summer.

But looking at this from purely a football point of view and putting cash issues to one side, it is not difficult to see where things are going wrong.

Scoring at the other end has not been a difficultly, with Neils men finding the net twice in three of the games – the 3-0 loss at Leeds was the exception.

Jordan Storey was given his first league start, with Paul Huntington and Ben Davies for company in the middle.

That could not be in any way attributed to the system but was indicative of the bad luck teams tend to have when stuck on runs like this.

We have become accustomed to seeing Robinson playing centrally, however for Barker this was something new.

The loanee was not able to have an impact on the game like he had done from a wide role against Middlesbrough.

North End lost Robinsons services to a jarred knee early in the second half, the main threat taken away.

The fact they managed to still score twice was therefore commendable, although the second was so late in the day that it mattered little.

Mindful that Albion had scored 22 league goals, Neil went for a disciplined shape to Prestons play.

They probably shaded the first half in terms of moving the ball better, the visitors edging the chance count.

Maxwells save to tip over Kyle Bartleys header from four yards early in the contest was excellent, the block with his legs to deny Harvey Barnes none too shabby either.

The visitors went ahead in the 48th minute, with Jake Livermore allowed to move unchallenged for 10 yards down the right before sending over a cross. RODRIGUEZ stole in front of Storey to send a header past Maxwell.

Back came PNE to level in the 71st minute, a foul on Ben Pearson seeing them awarded a free-kick 20 yards out.

It was taken left-footed by HUGHES, with the Welshman keeping it low and finding the far bottom corner.

GAYLE found the net with a free-kick from 25 yards in the 88th minute, sparking a mass exodus from the home stands.

Those who stayed at least saw a second PNE goal, Josh Harrops pass sending fellow sub Louis Moult into the box.

Preston at web:


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