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.

Preston North End’s Daniel Johnson. (Photo by Kevin Barnes – CameraSport via Getty Images)

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.

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