Dismal Opening Day

Last updated : 09 August 2021 By @pnemad

The fans returned to Deepdale for the first time in 18 months but by the end of the game the three home stands were almost at pandemic levels with the home supporters leaving the ground after a below average performance.

McAvoy stuck with the 5-3-2 formation that he switched to when taking charge at the end of last season. This formation limits Preston moving forward with three centre backs and a defensive midfielder but equally it has made North End more solid.

The wings backs have an important role to play but in Barkhuizen on the right Preston lack a defensive minded player. In addition, gaps can be exploited between the centre and wing backs.

North End had two spells in the game for around ten minutes at the start of each half. Unfortunately, a game lasts for ninety minutes and Preston were not able to perform over the full match.

Preston took the lead early on when Browne found Barkhuizen in acres of space on the right. He had all day to put in a cross but curled in a fantastic ball which evaded the defence and Riis slotted home at the back post.

Soon after we saw how weak Preston looked at the back. A through ball cut open the back line and Rudd had to rush out to save Preston and stop the visitors from levelling. In the process Rudd suffered an injury and was later replaced by Iversen.

Hull did equalise before the break. Smallwood played a through ball between the large gaps in Preston's defence. Lewis-Potter ran onto the ball and slotted past Iversen.

At the break McAvoy switched to four at the back with Van den Berg coming on at right back. Hughes switched to the left whilst Lindsay and Storey stayed in the centre. Potts also came on.

North End had a shot from outside the box which was well saved before Barkhuizen was played through but he could only stab his shot against the keeper.

Hull then took the ascendency and there were warning signs before Smallwood shot from outside the box. Unfortunately, there was a double deflection which gave Iversen no chance. It was fortunate but not unexpected.

The visitors then increased their lead with two late goals. Magennis scored before Cannon fired home as the game entered injury time. Hull managed to exploit Preston's numerous weaknesses.

McAvoy must reassess and reevaluate to move forward. Preston are always concerned about a lack of creativity but immediate concerns must be at the back and how they were easily opened up by the newly promoted side.