“We’re going up”, replied a number of jubilant PNE fans to yesterday’s Three Word Review post on social media.
After every game we attempt to gauge the mood of the fans through our Three Word Review posts and yesterday was no different.
Once again, the Preston North End faithful were left in raptures, but despite a number of impressive results, yesterday’s triumph was the sweetest yet.
Not only did we beat our fierce Lancashire rivals, but we beat them in incredible fashion.
When the halftime whistle went, PNE were two goals down and looked set to slip out of the Play-Off places.
Just 45 minutes later, and we had fought back emphatically to beat Blackburn 3-2, soaring up the table and into second with 14 games played so far this campaign.
It was fairy tale stuff and while Blackburn were in a torrid spell of form heading into the game, you can never overstate the importance of a derby day win.
When PNE fell behind after a mere 30 seconds, panic began to set in.
Blackburn piled forward in numbers, attacking the Preston box and geeing up the away following.
And on the 11th minute, our initial despondency was compounded further.
Blackburn stormed into a two goal lead as Sam Gallagher, who had failed to score in his previous twelve league appearances for Rovers, grabbed his second goal in just 11 first half minutes.
The fortuitous forward jinked his way clear in the box before stabbing the ball past Rudd and into the net.
The Lilywhites struggled to respond and looked devoid of a plan. The aggressive press of Blackburn was paying dividends and causing our back line numerous issues.
In a desperate bid to switch the momentum of the game, Alex Neil brought on, what would prove to be, an inspired substitution.
The much maligned Jayden Stockley replaced an ineffective Paul Gallagher and completely changed the complexion of the game.
PNE now had a focal point through which they could focus subsequent attacking play.
And after an expected halftime Alex Neil bollocking, Preston began to flaunt their usual characteristics.
On the 53rd minute, Blackburn stopper Christian Walton flapped at a deep cross, allowing Seani Maguire to head the ball back to Tom Barkhuizen who had the simple job of aiming the ball past Walton and into the net.
It was game on.
And, before we’d caught our breath after the first, PNE had a golden opportunity to draw themselves level.
When Alan Browne was hauled down in the box, the referee had no option but to point to the spot.
Up stepped Daniel Johnson, I mean who else would it be?
The iceman methodically placed the ball down before deceiving Walton and putting the ball into the bottom left corner.
Just when the excitement of the game seemed to be waning, Tom Barkhuizen struck the winner in emphatic style.
Stockley’s astute lay-off landed at the feet of Browne, who threaded the ball to Tom Barkhuizen on what looked to be a tight angle.
But Barkhuizen, who’d been hitting them nicely in training, according to assistant Frankie McAvoy, did not let the angle faze him, as he curled the ball around Walton and into the net.
It was an incredible way to win what had been a captivating derby and despite Blackburn’s first substitution of the game taking effect immediately after Preston’s third, it was too little too late from Tony Mowbray, who was stubborn in his approach.
Preston have proved that they have an immense amount of determination and in a gruelling season, it’s vital that we maintain our attitude and continue to find different ways of grinding out results.
Charlton next and although they have won just one in five, Lee Bowyer is a talented manager who knows how to get the best out of limited resources.
It will definitely be another intriguing Championship test.