Preston North End started the new Championship season with a 1-1 draw against Bristol City.

Despite going a goal down early in the second half, Preston were unlucky to come away from Ashton Gate with just the one point. The Lilywhites created plenty of chances as Alan Browne, Mads Frokjær-Jensen and Will Keane particularly linked up well.

Simply the Best

Kian Best made his professional debut for Preston on Saturday. A dream come true for the local lad who at the age of 17 became the youngest debutant for the club since Ben Davies in 2013.

Best had impressed in pre-season and deserved the start with Robbie Brady currently out injured.

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He didn’t look out of place and played a key part in many of Preston’s attacks. His set piece ability is also a huge attribute of his. Kian took the majority of Preston’s corners and free kicks and can put the ball in some very dangerous spots.

He held his own defensively as well and kept his head when Harry Cornick tried to ruffle his feathers in an off the ball incident. He tired towards the end as did a lot of others but certainly impressed the travelling faithful.

Bristol City v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by David Horton – CameraSport via Getty Images

New signings impress

As expected Will Keane and Mads Frokjær-Jensen were handed starts on the opening day. For Keane it was a second debut for the club after his 2015 loan spell and for Mads it was a first competitive game in English football.

Keane was playing as a lone striker so although isolated at times his pressing was relentless and he linked up very well with the midfield.

MFJ and Alan Browne were pushed up just behind Keane so it allowed them to play in triangles and carve open the Bristol City defence. The Dane made some very good passes and clearly fancies himself from range as well, testing ‘keeper Max O’Leary from range shortly after Sam Bell had given The Robins the lead.

Bristol City v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by David Horton – CameraSport via Getty Images

Sloppy defending

The defence were rarely troubled throughout the game and it was a disappointing goal to concede. A long throw in wasn’t dealt with which allowed first Nakhi Wells a shot which hit the post and then Bell to put home the rebound.

Liam Lindsay, Andrew Hughes and Jordan Storey must be able to command their area better. On the whole though, they have a solid performance at the back and kept the ball moving fast when looking to start attacks.

Not so many long balls were played as well, allowing our midfield to have more of an impact.

A surprising amount of chances created

The goal finally came in the 86th minute. A smart finish from a Keane despite being surrounded by other players. In truth we could have scored two or three before then.

The game really did open up for us after goal a goal down. Browne hit the post with a left foot volley from a Best cross. The captain also shot over when played through by Frokjær.

The Dane played a lovely back heeled pass through to Brad Potts who was put off by Joe Williams.

Keane had a shot from inside the area blocked potentially by the hand of Zak Vyner.

The goal was deserved and it was promising to see so many chances created despite only having one fit senior striker available.

Ledson way below par

It was a surprise to see Ryan Ledson given a start. I thought Ben Woodburn would have been given the nod to supply Keane further up the pitch.

As it was we played a box midfield with Ali McCann and Ledson at the base, and captain Browne and Frokjær ahead of them.

McCann had a great game; strong in the tackle and endless energy carrying the ball upfield.

Unfortunately for Ledson he wasn’t on the same wavelength as the rest of the team. His passes were hurried and on the whole misplaced.

His pass completion rate was just 48% and it was very frustrating to see the rest of the team link up well but for the ball to be given away too many times by Ledson.

It’s a missed opportunity for him as when Ben Whiteman is available again he will slot into the midfield. There is further competition from Duane Holmes too but his was also a bit careless with some of his passing when he came on.

His little flick did lead to an assist but if Ryan Lowe is to revert to two strikers when he has more players fit, there’s a battle for those three midfield places.

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