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Preston post-match notebook: Standout performers in a team that deserved more goals

Preston North End picked up their first points of the season with a 1-0 win over Peterborough United on Saturday.

In truth, the scoreline could and should have been a lot more in Preston’ favour.

Patrick Bauer’s first-half header gave Preston the 1-0 victory, powering home a Ryan Ledson fre kick.

Plenty of chances were created which is rare for this side, but they just lacked the finishing touch on the day. Bauer, Ledson, Scott Sinclair and Sean Maguire all came into the team and all put in a great shift.

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DJ should keep the armband

Alan Browne missed the game as he had to isolate. Daniel Johnson was named as captain in his place and led from the front.

He ran himself into the ground and was shattered by the end. It was a great performance as he covered nearly every blade of grass on the pitch and had a passing accuracy of over 90%.

He broke forward numerous times on the break helping out the attackers in the team. North End played with energy throughout and that mainly came from DJ. He was always looking to make things happen and linked up well with Ben Whiteman and Ryan Ledson in the middle.

All three of the midfielders were superb. It was a much needed display from them and Alan Browne will struggle to get back in that team based on Saturday’s showing.

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It could have been 4, 5 or 6!

Preston only needed one goal in the end but they would have been kicking themselves if Posh had managed to get back into the game. Ben Whiteman hit the bar with a sumptuous strike which left Christy Pym stranded to the spot. He also went close in the second half with a first time effort which just went over the bar.

Scott Sinclair should have scored when one on one in the first half and had a good chance in the second half when he weaved in and out of the defence. There was a period where North End came close to a second from four corners in quick succession. Patrick Bauer and Andrew Hughes particularly causing problems for Darren Ferguson’s side.

DJ should have scored late on but dragged an effort wife and had earlier forced Pym into a good save from a curling left footed effort. Emil Riis created a lot of chances for himself, mainly from cutting in from the left when played through. Unfortunately he didn’t quite have his shooting boots on.

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Shades of Hugill in Riis’ display

Emil Riis can count himself unlucky to have been on the bench for the last two games. However Sean Maguire and Scott Sinclair both played well, particularly the latter and were worthy of their starting spots. Riis did come on as a substitution in the 70th minute and quickly got to work trying to find the goal to kill the game off.

He played with huge confidence, backing himself to take on defenders. He often nudged the ball passed them before running around and setting up for a shot on goal. Perhaps at times, a pass to a teammate could have been a better option but he was determined to get a goal. It was almost a perfect substitute display from the Dane. He’s got pace, he’s strong and he’s not afraid to have a go. Much like Jordan Hugill in his early days with us.

The finishing needed some improvement on Saturday but overall it was a great performance from him. He was allowed to show his worth to the team with balls played to his feet and in front of him, rather than just launched up to his head. Yes, he’s good in the air but he’s also so much more than that.

PRESTON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 21: Preston North End’s Patrick Bauer celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Peterborough United at Deepdale on August 21, 2021 in Preston, England. (Photo by Stephen White – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Brilliant to have Bauer back

It didn’t take long for the Preston fans to be singing his name again. His first league game for 8 months and he capped it off with a goal. He’s a popular figure with the North End faithful and gave an assured display in the heart of the defence. Jordan Storey also had a good game and it’s not a coincidence that that came with the big German next to him.

Bauer was strong in the air at both ends but the defensive trio were good at cutting out and intercepting Peterborough chances which made for a relatively comfortable afternoon for Danie Iversen.

Andrew Hughes also had his best game of the season so far. He brought the ball out of defence a few times and linked up well with Josh Earl on the left hand side who himself had another good game.

Sepp van den Berg is quickly becoming a favourite of mine and many others as well I assume. He gives everything this lad and never stops all game. It’s hard to believe he’s only 19. He may have the odd mistake in him but his effort is fantastic and is still learning this position. Some loan players can look half hearted at times, but Sepp wears his heart on his sleeve and gives his all for this club.

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Credit to the fans

The mood around the club hasn’t been great this season. There’s plenty of disgruntled fans and this win only papers over some serious cracks. However even before the game, the fans were in fine voice and backed the lads from the very start. Everyone wants to see this club succeed and when the players put in a committed display like on Saturday, the fans show their appreciation.

There was a strong following to Huddersfield on Tuesday and it’s a sell out at Morecambe in the Carabao Cup. It’s hasn’t been too enjoyable being a North End fan of late but they still turn up and back the team, urging them on. Today the fans were finally rewarded with a showing that matched their support.

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