A stoppage time winner from Brad Potts sent Deepdale into delirious scenes as they beat Reading 2-1 and kept the dream alive.
North End should have been home and dry way before injury time but you cannot beat a last minute winner. Confidence is high, and the impossible is seeming possible all of a sudden.
A great team performance
Every single Preston player on that pitch was superb today. From the first minute we dominated possession and we understood that it was a must win game.
There was something in the air in Deepdale on Monday. Both fans and players acknowledged the task at hand and for the first time possibly this season, aside from the derbies, it felt like there was a lot on the line.
There were plenty of chances that came and went but the players remained patient. They didn’t start lumping the ball forward as they have done in the past. We played good football, all the players linked up well and we eventually got the breakthrough.
Tom Cannon had a couple of good chances in the first half but he wasn’t going to waste a third opportunity. It came from more good football and some good strength from a player who could have a huge part to play.
Josh Onomah could have a big impact on this season
Onomah started his first game for Preston due to the absence of Alan Browne. He played very well and he provides something different to any of our central midfielders.
He’s got strength and a great touch and that was proved in the first goal. The ball was played into him and he was fouled. The referee played on but Onomah managed to lay the ball off for Alvaro Fernandez. The Manchester United loanee cut back for Cannon to net his sixth goal in six games. I’m not sure if Browne would have been able to hold his man off like Onomah did.
If Browne is out for some time, Onomah is going to be key in the last five games. He’s a good player to have in the team when we’re on the front foot and finds himself in some good attacking positions.
Credit to Parrott
I’ve written about Tom Cannon plenty of times and I could do again. Another great display from the lad but I also felt Troy Parrott put in a great shift. He’s not a goal scorer; he’s only netted three goals for us all season. But with Emil Riis and Ched Evans unavailable, he’s shown he can be a good partner for Cannon.
Parrott never stops running. He tracks back and defends well, he gets into good positions and pulls defenders out of position. It might go unnoticed but you can’t question his passion and work rate.
He’s linking up well with Cannon and hasn’t let his goal drought affect him.
That’s the game we usually fail to win
We’ve been here many times before. Since returning to the Championship in 2015, Preston have found themselves in promising situations on plenty of occasions. When it comes to that game where we should win and take a huge step we usually fail to do so.
A key example of this that sticks in the mind was also on an Easter Monday five years ago. We took on Derby County who were also chasing a play-off place. Alan Browne missed a penalty in the first half before a Tom Lawrence free-kick sealed the points for The Rams.
Derby would go on to edge Preston to the play-offs by two points. Meaning a draw on that day would have been enough for Alex Neil’s side.
This Easter Monday felt like a familiar story when Reading undeservedly equalised. Yet Preston kept calm and it was a glorious moment to see Brad Potts pop up with the last minute winner. The celebrations were fantastic and you could tell how much it meant to the players.
Are we that team this season?
There always seems to be one team that goes on a good run and manages to sneak into the play-offs. Everything points towards that team being Preston at the moment. Just one defeat in eleven games which has yielded 22 points. Wins from five of the last six.
No one could have predicted this and everyone would have taken this situation at the start of the season.
Credit has to be given to Ryan Lowe. When many doubted him, his team are delivering at a crucial point.
The game against Millwall on Saturday is huge. Win it and we go 5th, with Blackburn Rovers playing Hull City in a later kick-off.
The home game against Rovers on the 22nd April could be even bigger. It is worth noting that their game in hand comes against champions elect Burnley on the 25th April.
The faces of the players celebrating in front of the Town End after Potts goal suggests they believe. They know the position they are in and there is a real feel good vibe around the club at the moment.
Let’s keep it going.