Preston’s play-off dream is all but over after a 2-0 home defeat to Leeds United on Tuesday night.
North End needed to win after losing 1-0 to Sheffield United, but a visit from another automatic promotion contender wasn’t ideal. Alex Neil’s side did at least keep Leeds at arm’s length in the first half, but it all changed in the second.
Ben Pearson picked up a red card for bringing down Patrick Bamford, and Bamford smashed Leeds in front shortly after. The ex-Chelsea striker wrapped up the win with a fine header later in the second half.
North End just didn’t have enough to take down Marcelo Bielsa’s men. The pressing didn’t have the same buzz, and players were panicking in possession. The ball didn’t stick in attack, and Leeds were able to ease to victory.
A host of North End players flopped on the night, but Daniel Johnson really struggled. He missed out against Sheffield United with an Achilles problem, but was back in the XI last night, replacing Ryan Ledson.
Johnson was error-prone and slack in possession, whilst he had a huge part in Pearson’s sending off. It often feels like the 26-year-old is either controlling the game or enduring a nightmare; last night, it was the latter.
With Paul Gallagher out, it’s understandable that Neil wanted a technical player in midfield, as that isn’t Alan Browne or Ledson’s game. However, Johnson’s display was a major disappointment, and led to a battering on Twitter.
Fans took to social media to question just how Johnson gets in the side, branding him ‘poor’, ‘awful’ and ‘not good enough’. Some took their criticism a little further, as seen below, but the general consensus was that Johnson was a standout performer – for all the wrong reasons.
Not being funny but the position Pearson was left in for his red card was due to Johnson. Leeds have concended numerous goals from set pieces this season. We get a free kick midway in their half and DJ decides not to put it in box. Plays it short into mid and balls lost. #pnefc
— Matt Hawarden (@Matthawarden) April 10, 2019
Awful performance overall.. Dj lost in midfield, robbo not fully fit yet, Earls positioning is awful.. passing all over the place and hoofing a ball upto a midget then expecting him to get it 🤷🏽♂️🤦🏽♂️ new game play on Saturday please #pnefc #gentryday
— PNE Home And Away (@PNEhomeandaway) April 9, 2019
DJ is poor how he even starts is Beyond me #pnefc
— Jamie Handyside (@HandysideJ) April 9, 2019
Very poor @pnefc side tonight
DJ constant mistakes
Robinson was off his perfect form
Maguire, again way off form
Earl isn't ready for this level at all, needs loaning out to gain experience
— Kerrie Houghton (@kerriehoughton) April 9, 2019
Daniel Johnson would be more useful sat in the stands freeing up space for a football player on the pitch
— Stiz (@Stiz1) April 10, 2019
Johnson announcing his retirement after that display hopefully 🤔
— Dean Harrison (@deanobeano53) April 9, 2019
Johnson has been awful…again. #pnefc
— Tom Swarbrick (@TomSwarbrick1) April 9, 2019
Daniel Johnson is simply not good enough. Ridiculous how hes still getting games. #pnefc
— Richard 🇬🇧 (@RichardR_92) April 9, 2019
If daniel Johnson is the answer… what is the question? #pnefc
— Balders (@albalders39) April 9, 2019