The result on Tuesday night took everyone by surprise. Those watching it and those even playing in the game I imagine came away in disbelief.
Preston North End somehow beat Middlesbrough 2-1. However a set piece goal and some fortunate and horrendous defending from Boro should not fool you.
The writing is clearly on the wall now for Frankie McAvoy. It’s in bold, circled and with huge arrows pointing at it. Yet some won’t be able to see it.
Another goal conceded from a set-piece
You’d have thought the focus in training would have been on set-pieces after conceding two against Cardiff City at the weekend. Yet the header from Paddy McNair was an even worse one to concede. No one was marking him and he was left to easily head in the opening goal. It looked to be game over at that point. It was only the 33rd minute but from then on even at 1-0 down it looked as if Preston were the ones holding onto a lead.
A rousing half time team talk? No
Preston were poor in the first half. It was suggested that this game could have been Frankie McAvoy’s last if we were on the end of another poor result. At 1-0 down you’re thinking he has to give the team talk of his life to send them back out raring to go. That was not the case. It was more of the same as Boro looked for another goal.
If it wasn’t for Daniel Iversen, this game would have been long gone. But that can probably be said for every game this season (more on him below). It looked as if the team were just ambling along with no real plan or idea on how to get back into the game. Again there was no plan B.
Surely Iversen owes it to himself to move on?
Daniel Iversen is a superb goalkeeper. Countless times he’s made saves this season that have delighted and yet surprised North End fans at the same time. International honours can’t be far off for him. You do feel sorry at what he has to deal with in front of him. At the very least he should be at a top Championship club.
His displays in 2021 won’t have gone unnoticed in England and in Europe I imagine. If another club approaches Leicester City about taking him for the second half of the season then it should be definitely considered by both club and player. He deserves more than this, but perhaps having to make ten saves a game will stand him in good stead in the long term.
Substitutions paid off for once
It was the first time this season a substitute scored a goal as Ched Evans got the equaliser. He came on for Seani Maguire in a straight swap. After that it was time for player and formation roulette from Frankie. Daniel Johnson and Scott Sinclair were thrown on. It looked as if Sinclair was playing in an unfamiliar number 10 role.
A DJ breakaway did lead to the second goal through, so who am I to question the sub? In my opinion the Jamaican should be starting every game anyway but perhaps Frankie knows best.
Where do we go from here?
If a loss would have led to the departure of McAvoy then many would have been delighted at a fresh start. So where does a win leave us? I’m sure the fans on Teeside enjoyed it, and fair play to them making that trip on a cold Tuesday night. Personally I found it rather strange when we scored. It was totally underserved and just made me think the current regime is going to carry on a bit longer now. This only makes McAvoy’s job more secure, but anyone with eyes could see the performance was lacking on so many fronts.
There’s no positives to take from this really. Two tough games against Fulham and Blackburn Rovers follow. We can’t just rely on other teams making mistakes. There’s still no pattern to our play, no tactics, no idea. There’s a reason why subconsciously I didn’t celebrate those goals like I normally would do.