Preston claimed a second straight away win of the season, beating Queens Park Rangers 2-0 at Loftus Road.
North End were looking to bounce back from Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat to Cardiff City, and did so with a couple of penalties.
Daniel Johnson buried the first one after Scott Sinclair had been brought down, and Sinclair converted the second himself when Emil Riis was fouled.
Preston saw out the game to win 2-0 – and here are five key talking points from the game.
Riis steals the show
New signing Emil Riis was given his first start for Preston on Wednesday night, and he certainly took his chance to lead the North End attack. The Dane was outstanding at Loftus Road, proving to be an absolute menace to the QPR attack.
Riis was quick and physical, willing to challenge QPR defenders but also run in behind, and he won the second penalty through sheer persistence. A goal was all that was missing from Riis’s display, and he should have scored from an Alan Browne cross, but you can’t take anything away from his performance.
Winning without Pearson and Davies
When the Preston line-up was released, fans would have been forgiven for fearing the worst given that Ben Davies and Ben Pearson were both ruled out of the side through injury, given that the pair are arguably North End’s best two players.
However, Jordan Storey produced a superb display in Davies’s place, and Pearson’s absence saw Alan Browne drop deeper, with Daniel Johnson playing as the number 10. Browne and Ryan Ledson controlled the midfield well, with Johnson bringing creativity further forward. At a time when Preston fans are fearful of a future without Pearson and Davies, this performance was a reminder that North End can win without them.
Potts shows why Neil loves him
He comes in for criticism from fans at times, but Brad Potts again showed why Alex Neil is such a big fan having turned in a tireless display last night. Despite Tom Barkhuizen’s return, Potts has kept his spot out wide, and that decision was justified.
Potts linked play well last night but is just such an effective presser, and he stepped up in the second half to press the QPR defence and midfield high up the pitch. Neil clearly loves how Potts gets around the pitch and is a real nuisance athletically, and it all helped pen QPR in their own half for long periods.
Home and away
Last night’s win now means Preston have taken seven points from a possible nine on the road this season, having drawn at Norwich City before winning at Brentford and QPR. Compare that with three 1-0 defeats at home, and Preston’s home form is lagging way behind the away form.
Alex Neil has admitted that he is trying to find a solution to the home woes, and having Daniel Johnson back available will surely help from a creativity standpoint, as will adding in striker Riis. Preston’s next home game comes against Millwall next week, and our record against Gary Rowett is far from impressive, so let’s see if North End can break a couple of hoodoos there.
A clean sheet!
Alex Neil admitted after the game that Preston just haven’t kept enough clean sheets of late, so forcing a blank from QPR last night was a major boost – even if Albert Adomah’s late miss could have easily wiped out the clean sheet.
Preston kept just two clean sheets in nine following the restart and none in the league this season before last night, so hopefully this now gives North End a platform to build on moving forward.