Despite a spirited performance Preston North End lost their last away game of the season against Ipswich.
First half goals from Jason Scotland and David Norris gave Ipswich a comfortable lead going into half time.
Paul Coutts equalised early in the second half but North End couldn’t get the draw their play deserved.
Youngsters Scott Leather, Danny Devine, Doyle Middleton and Jamie Proctor impressed and PNE fans may start looking to the future with some confidence.
Phil Brown made plenty of changes from the side that lost to Cardiff. Leon Cort, Darren Carter, Ian Ashbee, Iain Hume and Nathan Ellington all went out in favour of younger less experienced players.
One of the hottest young talents in English football, Connor Wickham, was out injured for Ipswich but with John Carson and Jimmy Bullard in midfield their starting line up looked strong.
One of North End’s youngsters Danny Devine almost gave the visitors the lead early on but he headed wide.
Minutes later PNE were behind when Norris ran down the right and played the ball to Scotland who finished nicely.
Ipswich doubled their lead shortly after. Bullard played the ball through to Ronan Murray and although Iain Turner made a good save Norris collected the rebound and made it 2-0.
PNE’s defence was convinced that Murray was offside when Bullard passed him the ball but the lineman disagreed.
Just before the half hour North End suffered another piece of misfortune as winger Keith Treacy had to go off injured. He was replaced by Proctor and PNE changed to a 4-4-2 formation.
The change in formation worked for the Lilywhites and Ipswich struggled to create any more chances.
North End made their second change at half time with Paul Hayes coming on for Chris Brown and the substitute linked up brilliantly with Proctor throughout the half.
PNE started the second period well and just seven minutes in Coutts drilled the ball in to halve the deficit.
Coutts had two more chances later in the game but couldn’t find the back of the net.
North End’s best chance to equalise fell to their man of the match Jamie Proctor. The impressive Coutts found him with a good cross but Proctor hit it straight at Martin Fulop.
20 minutes from time 17 year old Doyle Middleton replaced Adam Barton taking the average age of PNE’s side down even further.
North End face Watford at Deepdale next Saturday hoping to finish a terrible season on a high.
PNE: Turner 7, Leather 6, Devine 7, Morgan 5, Jones 7, Mayor 5, Coutts 8, Barton 6 (Middleton 6), Nicholson 6, Treacy 6 (Proctor 8), Brown 6 (Hayes 7). Unused subs: Arestidou, Miller, Carter, Clucas.
Ipswich: Fulop 7, Edwards 7, Delaney 6, Brown 7, Kennedy 6, Norris 8, Bullard 8, Leadbitter 6, Carson 7 (Peters n/a), Murray 7 (Drury 6), Scotland 7 (Civelli n/a). Unused subs: Murphy, Eastman, White, Healy.
Image courtesy of Kate Riley.