Preston North End made it seven points from the first three games of the season with a hard-fought 1-0 victory away to Sheffield Wednesday.

The Owls remain pointless and didn’t offer anything to seriously trouble The Lilywhites, but it was another committed performance from Ryan Lowe’s side which saw them see out the game comfortably.

The first of many assists from that left foot

It was only a matter of time before we saw Kian Best get an assist. His set-piece delivery is so dangerous, and he has already been trusted with taking a lot of the free-kicks and corners in this team.

In the first half he picked out Brad Potts with a lovely pass, and Potts almost guided a volley in, but it was tipped around the post by Devis Vasquez.

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Early in the second half, Preston found themselves with a free-kick on the left handside around 35 yards away from goal. Best whipped in an inch perfect cross which evaded the Wednesday defence, before Liam Lindsay threw himself at the ball which ended up in the back of the net.

It was only when watching the replays that I realised how impressive the ball in from Best was. If he can continue to do that on a regular basis, then we will find ourselves scoring plenty from those positions.

The fans have already taken to the 17-year-old singing his name in a song on Saturday originally sung by Manchester United fans for his namesake George.

Sheffield Wednesday v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images

You make me happy, when skies are grey

With Preston 1-0 up and the game heading into the dying embers, North End players were doing everything to ensure the three points would return to Lancashire with them. Lowe needs players on the pitch that he can trust in that scenario, and with Jack Whatmough and Ben Woodburn looking like two players who will regularly play that role in the early games, Lowe turned to one more player.

Noah Mawene had only previously played one minute of professional football which came in the 4-1 win away to Blackburn Rovers last season. This time he was handed a bit longer, as he came on to replace Mads Frokjaer. Mawene did well on two occasions where he led a counter-attack carrying the ball upfield after Wednesday were trying to penetrate Preston’s backline.

Lowe obviously felt he could trust the 18-year-old in those positions. It was a surreal moment for the fans to once again be singing about a Mawene, some 13 years since Noah’s Dad; Youl last played for the club. This Mawene is different, playing as a midfielder as opposed to his Dad in defence. But the song is the same and Noah slips perfectly into the place of Youl.

An amazing moment for Noah I’m sure, and hopefully there can be many more occasions this season where the faithful can be singing his name once again.

Sheffield Wednesday v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images

Not the prettiest, but Preston maturing

Sheffield Wednesday didn’t pose many threats for Preston, but Saturday’s win showed that Ryan Lowe’s team are learning how to see games out. You’ll take a 1-0 win all day long. We didn’t create a vast amount of chances ourselves, but a first clean sheet of the season will build confidence.

The goals have arrived in different ways so far this season, and we have taken the chances created. The game management so far has been spot on, seeing out one goal leads over Sunderland and Wednesday in competitive games.

There has been a lot of pressure starting from the front with Will Keane, and with support from Frokjaer and others. It puts the opposition on the back foot and we seem less likely to invite pressure on ourselves this season.

Trickier tasks ahead

In the last two games, the Preston defence have dealt easily with Bradley Dack as a false number nine, and a 34-year-old Lee Gregory who’s best days are behind him. Even when The Owls threw on MIchael Smith and Ashly Fletcher there was little danger posed.

Up next for Preston, is Swansea City at home. In their three league games they have started with Joel Piroe and Jerry Yates up front as a duo. Piroe scored 41 league goals in his first two seasons, whilst Yates has two in three since arriving from Blackpool. Yates will be keen to have an impact at Deepdale on Saturday, and the Preston defence will have to be ready for a battle with the Swans attackers.

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