Preston played out an enthralling encounter on Saturday afternoon, drawing 3-3 at home to Sheffield Wednesday.
After defeat at Wigan on Easter Monday, Alex Neil was looking for a response in the final home game of the season. It looked like he’d be getting just that at half time.
Jayden Stockley headed North End in front with his first Deepdale goal, finishing a well-worked free kick. Joe Rafferty’s run and cross produced the second, with a bizarre Tom Lees own goal making it 2-0.
Wednesday came out fighting after the break, with Barry Bannan smashing home their first goal. Stockley and Seani Maguire then combined for Alan Browne to restore Preston’s two-goal advantage with a superb strike.
Sadly, North End couldn’t hold on. Atdhe Nuhiu crossed for Fernando Forestieri to head in, and Kosovar ace Nuhiu made it 3-3 just moments later. There was more drama as Dominic Iorfa was given a straight red card, but it finished 3-3.
For a game that ultimately didn’t matter, it was a superb encounter, with both sides going full pelt. Darnell Fisher and Daniel Johnson starred, but the man of the match award went to Stockley.
The January signing from Exeter was making just his seventh start for North End, but really took his chance. Not only did he score, but his all-round game was superb. He won almost every header, even when falling over, and he showed off smart link-up play too.
Stockley, 25, laid down a real marker to be North End’s leading striker next season, especially with Maguire not impressing of late. His man of the match award was well-deserved, and it’s no surprise that he was hailed on Twitter.
North End fans took to Twitter to praise Stockley, calling him ‘outstanding’ and ‘magnificent’. Others felt he caused havoc, and has now emerged as Preston’s best striker ahead of the transfer window…
Entertaining game today 👍 thought Stockley was outstanding. Must have a half decent goals/minutes ratio for us. Does make you wonder why he hasn't played more games recently. He puts himself about and Maguire has struggled as a 9 of late #PNEFC
— Ed Smethurst (@edsmethurst86) April 27, 2019
Decent game at Deepdale today. Disappointed not to win, Browne going off was a bit of a turning point. Thought Stockley was the best #pnefc player but Bannon best player on the pitch.
— John (@catterallwhite) April 27, 2019
Stockley caused havoc today, gained us possession so many times. What a game. #pnefc
— Tom Bamber (@Tommy_bomb) April 27, 2019
That game showed that Stockley should be one of the first names on the team sheet every week #pnefc
— Josh Parker (@joshparker94) April 27, 2019
stockley out there giving neil food for thought, excelled. v promising #pnefc
— Sarah (@SarahWarren__) April 27, 2019
Some game that. Jayden Stockley magnificent. Roll on next season #pnefc
— @weybournepne (@weybournepne) April 27, 2019
Proof of a good striker is when centre halves just resort in fouling you all game because they haven’t won a single battle.
Stockley 👏🏻 Next season he needs to be the focal point of our attack. #pnefc
— Matty (@mattyG2505) April 27, 2019
We look so much more of a threat with Stockley up front #pnefc
— Mark Birkinshaw (@markbirky) April 27, 2019