Leaky Defence Costing Preston

Early season complaints may have been about the lack of investment in a striker but it is Preston's defence which has now become a serious concern as they conceded two more goals to a makeshift Middlesbrough side in the League Cup Third Round tie.

Neil played a strong eleven to try and rebuild some confidence. Ledson and Pearson protected the back fuour of Clarke, Hughes, Huntington and Storey but this still did not prevent the visitors from cutting Preston open on a number of occasions.

There were positives to take out of the game. North End looked good going forward and appear to have goals in them. Robinson continued his excellent early season form and Barkhuizen appeared to regain some confidence.

The scoring was opened by Preston when Robinson finished off an excellent move. The lead was short lived as soon afterwards Fletcher was allowed to bundle his way through North End's defence and fire past Maxwell.

The second haf was entertaining. Barkhuizen hit the post before the visitors drew a fine save out of Maxwell before hitting the bar. Both sides were dangerous going forwards.

Preston then re-took the lead with a shot from Barkhuizen from 20 yards out on an angle. It hit the post and went in. Perhaps the keeper should have done better at his near post but it was a fine shot.

Again, moments later Preston surrendered the lead. They failed to clear their lines properly and the ball ended up at the feet of Tevernier who fired home a rocket from outside the box.

Both looked for a winner but the game ended all square and headed for penalties. Robinson fired his high wide and handsome whilst Burke's penalty shot was still orbiting the earth the last time I checked.

The visitors scored all of their spot kicks and went through 4-3 on penalties. North End now face West Brom at home on Saturday and this must now be the start of a period where they have to toughen up and become hard to beat otherwise Preston could be cut adrift at the bottom of the table.