The final home game of Preston’s season certainly didn’t disappoint. A six goal thriller that also featured Sheffield Wednesday’s defender Dominic Iorfa being shown a straight red card for a nasty challenge on Darnell Fisher. The sharing of the spoils means that Preston go into their final game away at Brentford in 12th place.
Manager Alex Neil made three changes from the squad that faced Wigan at the DW Stadium, with Ripley, Stockley and Browne coming into the starting eleven.
It wasn’t long before Deepdale saw Connor Ripley being called into action, making his first save for Preston North End when diving low to his left to parry away Barry Bannan’s shot in the fourth minute.
The first goal of the game started from a well-worked free kick routine. Darnell Fisher desperately shouted at Paul Gallagher to make him aware of the amount of space Robinson found himself in on the left-hand side. And Gallagher, typically, made no mistake in finding CR7, who drifted the ball wonderfully into the box, which found Jayden Stockley to open the scoring. His first goal for Preston at Deepdale.
Preston kept applying the pressure, looking miles ahead of the visitors, and they got their rewards when Joe Rafferty drove into Wednesday’s penalty area and crossed a teasing ball into the box, one that Owl’s defender Tom Lees could only turn into his own net.
Steve Bruce’s side, however, came flying out for the second half, with Barry Bannan firing a tremendous shot past Ripley to score in front of the travelling Wednesday fans. The goal coming just four minutes after the start of the second half – something that has become all too familiar with the Deepdale faithful.
Alan Browne marked his return back into the team with a fine finish, restoring Preston’s two goal lead. But shortly after, Fernando Forestieri headed in to give the visitors hope. Then substitute Atdhe Nuhiu found himself on the end of a Barry Bannan cross, capping off a fantastic come back for the Owls.
Ten minutes from time, Dominic Iorfa took out Darnell Fisher with a late challenge near the two dugouts, and referee Jeremy Simpson made no mistake in producing the straight red card.
Even being down to ten men didn’t stop the Wednesday pressure, and in the end it was Preston who held on to the point.
Town End Talk’s Star Man
Daniel Johnson – With PNE’s midfield maestro successfully completing 7 tackles, (the most from anybody in the match) winning 14 duels and recovering the ball back 12 times during the course of the game, he was an integral part of Preston’s success. Not only was Johnson helping the attackers get further up the field, but more often that not he could be found in his own penalty area, calming the defence down by stepping in with vital blocks and interceptions when it was needed most. With fans often questioning his work rate and performances, Daniel Johnson showed, once again, how important a player he is for Preston North End during games like this. DJ did the dirty work, but perhaps this was due to the lack of either Ben Pearson or Ryan Ledson. Normally, Johnson knows there is a defensive midfielder behind him to mop up, on Saturday this wasn’t the case meaning DJ stepped up his game.
The Two Teams
PNE– Ripley, Rafferty, Storey, Davies, Fisher, Gallagher, Johnson, Maguire, Browne, Robinson, Stockley
Subs– Rudd, Huntington (90), Earl, Ginnelly (87), Baxter, Nmecha (74), Moult
Sheffield Wednesday– Dawson, Iorfra, Hector, Lees, Palmer, Bannan, Matias, Onomah, Pelupessy, Forestieri, Fletcher
Subs– Wildsmith, Fox, Hooper, Boyd, Nuhiu (67), Joao (77), Lee (84)