Goals Fail To Mask Defensive Deficiencies

The panic button has been well and truly pressed by Alex Neil. Yet again there was a change in formation as Preston returned to play with three centre backs. The problem remains the same whether Neil plays three or four at the back - Preston are leaking goals and at an alarming rate.

With a change in formation came a change in personnel and at present indiviudal players do not know whether they are coming or going. There are continued question marks over whoever plays in goal as well as the confusion over why Barker and Harrop are continually left out of a struggling side.

Consistency might just be the key to trying to lift Preston up the table but North End need to return to the defensive grit of the Grayson era to start putting points ont he board.

Playing free flowing, high pressing, attacking football is all well and good but it leaves the team exposed defensively. Last season Preston caught teams on the hop but this season Neil and his team have been worked out.

For the record Preston fell behind from a Billy Sharp tap in. It was created by a run down the right. The ball managed to make its way into the middle where Sharp was not tracked nor marked where he tapped into an open net.

Basham doubled the lead after the break and perhaps the hosts thought the job was done. North End did come back into the game with two goals in the last tenminutes.

Robinson who has probably been the most impressive player this season pulled one back before Johnson, who plays better in a far more attacking role, equalised.

The good work was undone when the home side were allowed to waltz through the Preston backline, alomst unattended at times, before McGoldrick was allowed a simple finish.

The defending was abysmal. It was reminiscent of the Darren Ferguson era when Preston were relegated. Change needs to happen fast in terms of on the field performances. North End need to make themselves hard to beat again which will allow their frontmen to make in roads and score vital goals instead of chasing the game.

The League Cup game is a free hit where players wil be needed to allow a confidence boost no matter what the result. West Brom await in the league and this will be another difficult encounter on Saturday.