A terrible afternoon for PNE ended with a 4-0 defeat leaving them 10 points off safety.Advertisement
And to make matters worse 19 year old Conor McLaughlin suffered a potentially serious injury.
It is often said that football is a game of two halves and that was the case at Deepdale today as PNE performed superbly in the first half but couldn’t keep it going for the whole 90 minutes.
For 45 minutes Preston’s 4-3-3 seemed to be working well as they created plenty of chances despite falling behind to an early Bristol City goal.
But in the second half after McLaughlin’s injury the team struggled to match Bristol City and were picked off on the counter attack three times in the second half.
PNE came into this game bottom of the league knowing that they needed a win to try and climb the table.
Bristol City struck first though as a mistake from captain Sean St. Ledger allowed Andy Keogh to score after just five minutes.
The goal seemed to spark PNE into life as debutant Eddie Johnson and Nathan Ellington proved a handful to the Bristol City defence and tested David James plenty of times.
Throughout the first half the home side dominated proceedings but failed to take advantage of their good play.
Disaster struck on the stroke of half time as Conor McLaughlin’s studs stuck in the ground injuring the full back’s leg.
The physios stretchered McLaughlin off and he was taken to hospital, reports suggested that doctors would look at his knee, ankle and foot, whatever the case the injury looked serious and could keep him out for the rest of the season.
Rather than build on their positive first half Preston failed to create much in the second half and Bristol City looked likely to score on the break.
A cross from half time substitution Brett Pitman was headed home by David Clarkson to double Bristol City’s advantage.
Clarkson popped up again just nine minutes later to convert the rebound after Andy Lonergan could only parry Keogh’s shot.
Despite having the majority of possession and more shots on goal PNE found themselves out of the game with 25 minutes remaining.
Phil Brown brought on Danny Mayor and Paul Parry but they had little impact and Brett Pitman scored the fourth of the game with just five minutes left on the clock.
Preston are away to Hull next week and can’t afford to go without a win for much longer if they are to survive.