PNE truly are the kings of the away win, after bagging another three points today against Huddersfield Town.
Following up on our 2-0 victory over Cardiff in midweek, we claimed another win over the Terriers today – although it wasn’t entirely easy. North End first went 1-0 down, with Frazier Campbell capitalising to slide the ball under Declan Rudd and give the home side the lead.
However, it was another comeback for the Lilywhites who performed tremendously in the second half to get the win. Two goals from Alan Browne in quick succession early on in the second half put PNE in front and they managed to hold on for the result despite some scares and our side sitting back for the last twenty minutes of the half.
To be honest, it could easily have been out of sight though within those last knockings of the game. Even with Huddersfield pushing forward and searching for an equaliser, we continued to string together chances.
One ball forward to Emil Riis (more on the new boy in a minute) led to the Dane challenging for the ball and nearly winning it and breaking away only for Naby Sarr to drag him down. Riis was the last man and the Huddersfield town man was shown a red card.
Emil Riis shines again
In fact, the Great Dane could easily have bagged his first goal for the club on two occasions during the game. After having a shot well saved earlier on in the game, his best chance came in injury time in the second half.
Having found himself with the ball near Huddersfield’s box, he managed to take it round two Town defenders and make space for himself to take on the shot. He unleashed a powerful effort towards goal but the ball rose and crashed against the crossbar and then away from the goal again. It, once again, was the only thing missing from Riis’ performance – a goal.
The new number nine has proven to be an astute signing so far. It’s early days yet and we don’t want to get too carried away but he has been exceptional. His mobility and pace on the ball (despite standing at about 6ft 3in tall) is extraordinary and he is also quick to bring others into the game, with a good eye for a pass too. In fact, he made a number of runs along the wing which resulted in him attempting to tee up his teammates in the centre.
It’s just a first goal that alludes him but if he continues to play the way he has been, then that goal will come.
Browne back on the scoresheet
It’s also very good to see the Irishman back amongst the goals for North End. He has been solid for PNE since lockdown and once again he put in an impressive showing (despite playing on the right in what isn’t his usual position). With 18/26 accurate passes, two goals and a solid effort defensively (two clearances, three blocked shots, one interception and one tackle) he may be back to his best football.
It’s been a struggle for Browney recently, with the player being used more like a utility man than in his favoured position. He’s played as a central midfielder, as an attacking midfielder and on the right as a right-back but he continues to put in a shift wherever he plays. There’s only one thing left for him to do – sign on the dotted line and put pen to paper on a new deal with us!
Squad was solid throughout
In fact, our entire side was mostly solid again today. Storey has done a good job deputising for the injured Ben Davies and Brad Potts work both offensively and defensively cannot be understated in terms of his key passing but also his pressing ability. Ledson continues to go from strength-to-strength, even in the absence of Ben Pearson and even Andrew Hughes, usually criticised by many at left-back, was fairly solid today.
As for Sinclair, he can often go missing in games (to be honest, he did again here) but he does usually tend to have that finishing touch that we need. He didn’t have that today either, missing a great chance in the first half to put us in the lead but you just cannot drop him with the goal scoring ability that he has. He can go completely off the radar but then pop up with a bit of magic.
With another win in the bag, it’s on to Millwall on Wednesday. Not only will it be a tough tie against a solid Millwall side but it’s also another home fixture. Games at Deepdale haven’t been our strong point recently but if we can play then as we did today, we could see ourselves secure another good result.