Preston North End 3-3 Bristol City: 5 Talking Points

This game was a real white knuckle ride.

Possession ebbed and flowed throughout in a game dominated by a questionable referee.

Preston did well to complete two comebacks, but Bristol City should be frustrated with the way in which they conceded two penalties.

Daniel Johnson was needlessly hacked down for the first, before defender Ashley Williams clumsily blocked the ball with his arm in the box, gifting PNE a second spot kick.

Both teams showed boundless energy, which was commendable in what were torrid conditions.

The final ball…

As the heavy rain bounced off the turf and the swirly winds gripped the ball, it was quite surprising that both teams still managed to play some attractive football.

However, for all their endeavour in the middle, Preston lacked end product.

On many occasions, particularly in the first half, we engineered some magnificent opportunities, but simply lacked the killer instinct to punish the Robins.

There was a number of successful entries into the box, but the Lilywhites lacked composure.

Barkhuizen did very little, while Maguire and Harrop also struggled to impact play.

Perhaps this highlights our need for a true striker in January.

Nugent offered dynamism from the bench but doesn’t have the fitness, while Stockley seems like a complete nonstarter.

Hit-and-miss Fisher.

The pacey right back is progressive and tenacious, but he does have a tendency to frustrate.

Fisher would bomb down the right in support of Maguire, but quite often his final ball would let him down, giving Bristol an opportunity to pile forward in a swift counter attack.

This happened on a number of occasions and while it’s great that we have such a progressive fullback, I’d just like him to improve upon his positioning.

Questionable keeping, or unquestionable foul play?

For all three of Bristol City’s goals, there was an element of both of the above.

The first was, in my eyes, a foul on Rudd.

Taylor Moore backed into Rudd, leaving him sprawled on the floor before turning the ball into an unguarded net.

The second saw Johnson pushed into Rudd, who collapsed onto the turf before the ball, again, bounced off the woodwork and into the net.

The third was slightly more dubious on the part of Rudd. The ball became loose in the box, before defender Nathan Baker steered the ball into the path of Rudd. Our number one just couldn’t get his feet set, as the ball cannoned off his inside leg and trundled into the net.

In fairness of Dec, there were a number of bodies obscuring his view but he will still be disappointed with himself.

A second league debut.

David Nugent joined play just after the hour mark and injected plenty of energy into the game.

He even came quite close to scoring, with an effort on goal that whistled just wide.

If our scorer against Andorra can stay fit, he’s shown enough already to prove that he can be an effective option from the bench.

The best central defensive partnership in the Championship?

In short, yes. Well, probably.

Against Manchester City in midweek, Ben Davies was lauded by many for his astute defending against some of the world’s most dangerous attackers.

And on Saturday, Davies was once again partnered with summer signing Patrick Bauer who is already cementing himself as a fan favourite.

The big German has added size and stature to the backline, something we desperately lacked at times last season.

But Bauer isn’t just a bruising lump, he’s actually great with the ball and complements Davies really well.

At the heart of defence, Davies and Bauer fill me with confidence, but we all know now that a Premier League bid for Davies is inevitable – so let’s just enjoy him while he’s here.

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