Preston North End picked up their eighth away win of the season with a 2-1 win over Birmingham City.

First half goals from Ryan Ledson and Alan Browne were enough to sink Birmingham despite a late goal back from Lukas Jutkiewicz.

3 points on the road at a crucial time

Last week’s four goal drubbing against Norwich City hurt. Off the pitch the fans were disgruntled and this got worse when Peter Ridsdale was alleged to have cancelled someone’s ticket for the FA Cup after they leaked some information. It turned into a bit of a soap opera and it was embarrassing.

It was good to focus on the actual football again and North End needed a performance on Saturday and they got one. Five defeats from the last seven games had all come via poor displays and if anything they needed a boost before facing Premier League opposition in the FA Cup next week.

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Birmingham City v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Gustavo Pantano/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Goals from unfamiliar sources

Both goals on Saturday came from midfielders who had yet to get on the scoresheet in the league this season. It was just Ryan Ledson’s third goal for Preston in his fifth season at the club and his first since April 2021. The ball fell kindly for him on the edge of the area and a left footed effort flew past John Ruddy.

The second goal was created by Robbie Brady who returned to the side following a long absence. His corner kick picked out Alan Browne at the near post who guided his header across goal and into the net.

Our midfielders haven’t scored enough this season so it was good to see them break their ducks in the league and hopefully we can see some more from them.

It was a timely goal from Ryan Ledson who is set to become a Dad in the next few days. The former Evertonian has endured a drop in form of late, so the goal gives him a much needed boost.

What is the difference away from home?

It’s the golden question and one even Ryan Lowe doesn’t know the answer to. On Saturday at St Andrews we started the game well and you won’t be able to find many occasions in the last few seasons where we’ve scored two goals in the first 15 minutes. It effectively killed off the game and gave us some breathing space.

Our away form is the best in the league along with Sheffield United’s but yet at home it’s like watching paint dry sometimes. It’s crazy how much it differs. If we could replicate our away form at home we’d be in the top two. But if we mirrored our home form away we’d be in the bottom three.

Do the players feel more pressure at home? Perhaps the club can offer away season tickets next season instead. Liam Lindsay suggested they keep it simple away whereas at home they try to entertain a bit more.

Delap and Cannon help fire the team up

The two loanee strikes have given us some much needed energy up front. They’re obviously keen to learn and show what they can offer. For Tom Cannon this is his first real chance at professional football but for Liam Delap he is looking to kick on after a slightly disappointing spell with Stoke City.

They both like to run directly at the defence and early on they were causing problems for the Birmingham back line. They’ve linked up quite well already and having Ched Evans and Troy Parrott on the bench as well gives us plenty of options up front now.

For Cannon and Delap especially we need to get them the ball as often as possible. At their feet they will make things happen and bring each other into play. They can both play on the shoulder of the last defender as well and we should be looking at more through balls for them to run onto.

Birmingham City v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Gustavo Pantano/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A landmark moment

The game at St Andrews saw a notable moment in Championship history as Rebecca Welch became the first female referee to officiate in the league. The game played out with little to no issues that affected much and hopefully it’s something we will be more accustomed to seeing in the near future.

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