Luton Town v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
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Preston's recurring problem under Ryan Lowe on full display in Luton Town embarrassment

Preston North End keep starting slowly. On Wednesday night at Luton Town, Ryan Lowe’s men left themselves far too big of a mountain to climb.

The Lowe era has largely been positive.

Lowe has connected with fans, brought a positive energy back to the club and attempted to completely re-tool the style of play on offer at Deepdale.

There have been more draws than wins, but with North End going absolutely nowhere this season, it hasn’t really mattered all that much.

What does matter is a trend that is going from worrying to back-breaking; Preston are starting far too slowly.

The numbers are staggering. In 17 league games under Lowe, Preston have scored just two first-half goals. Two!

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Patrick Bauer’s opener against Birmingham City was the first. The last first-half goal under Lowe remarkably came in January when Emil Riis scored against West Bromwich Albion.

With no game until April now, Preston will go two months without scoring a single first-half goal. Conversely, there have been 16 second-half goals under Lowe.

To put it bluntly, Preston are a second-half team.

On Wednesday night, Preston again drew a first-half blank at Luton Town. We have seen a comeback from 2-0 down against Sheffield United to draw 2-2, but North End created a mountain far too big to climb this time.

Lowe will have sent his side out seeking a win at Kenilworth Road, but the game was over by the time he spoke to his players again. 3-0 down, dead and buried, completely outclassed.

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A comical Bambo Diaby own goal put the seal on a truly horrendous night and you have to say this result has been coming.

You can’t keep giving the opposition a head start. North End keep giving the first 45 minutes away and only turning up after the break; eventually, that will hurt you.

It happened on Wednesday with Luton all too happy to take advantage of Preston’s complete inability to deal with crosses.

Sure, it’s one result on the face of it but this trend has been going on for weeks now. Look at the Reading game too – 2-0 down at the break and 3-0 down quickly after half-time.

Preston cannot keep turning in these performances and expecting points. Lowe has to find an answer to these early-game blues or risk being dismantled again in the future, just like North End were at Luton on Wednesday night.

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