Chaos Carnage And The Cabbage

For the neutral this was probably one of the most entertaining games of the season. It was packed with six goals, a comeback, a penalty save and a red card but in reality this was two teams playing abysmally on a poor run of form.

Scouts from other teams have probably stopped watching Preston because it is quite clear that Alex Neil doesn't know what team and formation to play from one game to the next. The lottery is easier to predict.

Last night Neil went back to a system with four at the back. It was unclear why after playing with wing backs at the wekend. Oddly, Alan Browne was thrust out onto the right side of midfield.

Nmecha was brought back into the side after recovering from injury. It was a difficult first half as North End hurled long balls up to the top and had hardly any possession near the Villa goal.

It was a canter for the home side in the first half. It was almost a matter of when not if the first goal would come. It was simplistic as usual. A cross came in and Kodija headed home.

The floodgates looked like they were going to open and Villa sooned scored a second as they waltzed through the Preston defence unchallenegd. Abraham managed to finish past Maxwell.

If the home side had been confident then you suspect Preston could have been four or five down and there was a fear at half time that Alex Neil's reign might be coming to an end.

The second half was a complete sea change. Johnson replaced Ledson and Preston started brightly. It is not uncommon to see Preston play for bit parts of games.

Around 10 minutes into the game Nmecha was played through on goal. The striker hasn't scored all season but was brought down by Chester. The referee pointed to the spot and sent off Chester with over half an hour remaining.

Johnson score the spot kick and the momentum suddenly swung towards Preston. North End were camped in the Villa half. Huntington missed at least three clear free headers at goal.

Barkhuizen missed a decent opportunity and Nmecha hit a long range shot which struck the post. It seemed like Preston were destined to fall short until an utterly chaotic climax to the game.

Gallagher, on as a substitute levelled the scoring and with time running out Louis Moult, also on as a substitute, powered home a header with only minutes remaining.

It was a frantic and unexpected comeback but the game wasn't finished. Villa were entrenched in their own half but realising the gravity of the situation piled forwards.

The home team managed a corner and despite several defenders surrounding Bolasie not one of them put a foot in to tackle or block his shot which went pat Maxwell.

The drama then continued as Johnson fouled Bjarnason deep in injury time in the box. Whelan took the penalty but Maxwell saved to deny Viall the victory.

There was also a pitch invader and a cabbge thrown at Steve Bruce just in case the football was too dull for the spectators.

Whilst Preston can take heart from the second half it was against ten men for the large part and Villa's confidence appears to be very low. Defensively Preston are still a shambles and still concede whoever they play.

Neil has significant work to do in order to haul his side off the bottom of the table but the calamity of the night gives the fans some respite.