Our incredible away form continues.
4 successive wins and 13 points overall from our 5 games on the road. A 3-0 win against early pace-setters Reading was exactly what we needed following Saturday’s disappointment. Here are 5 things we learned from the 3-0 victory against Reading.
The Big Dane is Off the Mark
Emil Riis Jakobsen has impressed the North End faithful since his arrival. His strength, willingness to run all game and technique is exactly what we have been missing.
Whilst Jayden Stockley scored a beauty as his replacement in the starting XI last weekend, it wasn’t a surprise to see Emil Riis return to the lineup against Reading. He’s come close to getting his first goal a few times already, perhaps the closest coming as he hit the bar in the 2-1 away win against Huddersfield, however, he was able to get off the mark with a well-taken goal on Wednesday night.
Hopefully, he can start to bag a few more now. He caused problems for Reading defender Tom McIntyre all night, as it was he who gave away the penalty we had early in the second half after a foul on Riis as well.
The Big Dane has caused problems for most of the defences he’s faced so far this season and getting his first goal must be a huge relief for him. He’s fast becoming a fans’ favourite despite none of us being able to attend the games. I have no doubt that the away end would have been sent into delirium at the sight of the striker scoring his first goal for the club on Wednesday night.
Fisher is Such a Key Player For Us
Darnell hobbled off against Birmingham City on Saturday and he looked set to miss yet another game. However, he was fit enough to start on Wednesday and played a huge part in keeping a clean sheet against the side who had scored the second-most goals in the league up until Wednesday night’s game.
He’s a fantastic defender at this level and it is crucial we get a new contract sorted for him as soon as possible. As the lads on the podcast have said, it’s not the ‘big 4’, it’s the ‘big 5’ and Darnell is just as important as the other four. We massively miss him when he’s out of the side and our record with him in the XI is miles better than without.
Yet another solid display from him and he played his part in exposing the Royals.
Scott Sinclair – A “Moments” Player
We’ve mentioned it a few times already here at From the Finney and the lads have said it before on the podcast, but it was noticeable yet again on Wednesday night; Scott Sinclair delivers when it matters.
Again he took his chance fantastically to score his 5th goal of the season. The ball flew into him after a strong challenge from Joe Rafferty and he expertly controlled it on his chest and he poked the ball past Reading goalkeeper Rafael Cabral and set us on the way to victory.
Sinclair has played at the highest level in comparison to the rest of the squad and is a big-game player. We saw with his two goals against Brentford earlier in the season that more often than not, he will take his chances when they come along. He’s clearly becoming one of our best finishers in the squad and he delivers when we need him most.
He took time to settle when he first arrived and arguably, he struggled to show the North End faithful what he is capable of but he looks like he’s flying now. Yet again though, it’s a shame we can’t witness in person, in stadiums, what he is now capable of.
Away Form Continues
13 points from our first 5 away games and 4 wins in a row away from home. Even more impressive when the opposition in that run includes Norwich City (relegated from the Premier League), Brentford (play-off finalists last season) and current league leaders Reading.
Of course, teams set up at home differently to how they do away and we are clearly better at dealing with one than the other. As Oli pointed out on Twitter (@gorn__) our away record stretches into last season as well with just 3 defeats in our last 19 away from Deepdale now.
In our away games, teams try to take the game to us and attack and which leaves gaps in behind that we can then exploit. However, at home we usually collapse after a defensive mistake and then the opposition sits back and we don’t seem to have a plan B, at least in my eyes.
Alex Neil in his comments after the game expressed his dismay and surprise at the huge contrast in fortunes. If he can find the answer to our home form then things will look a lot more positive. Right now the pendulum swings from game to game so it’s hard to read too much into any result at the moment.
As it stands only three teams in the league have lost more games than us, so hopefully we can just be more consistent with our strong showings and start to climb our way up the league table.
The Ever Reliable Cumbrian Cannavaro
Paul Huntington is in his 9th season with the club. Hunts was one of Graham Westley’s first signings and possibly the best thing he ever did in his time at the club.
He’s already cemented in North End folklore for his incredible season in 2014/15 for his many great performances and of course that goal at Wembley.
Whilst he hasn’t been a regular starter for us in the last couple of seasons you can usually rely on him when he does come into the side. Wednesday night saw his first league start of the season and he contributed to a clean sheet against a team in free-scoring form and with Lucas Joao up front who has already scored 9 goals this season.
The Cumbrian Cannavaro loves this club and it’s great to see him battle and wear his heart on his sleeve with each and every performance. His manager also loves him.
Alex Neil: "I love Hunts." #pnefc— George Hodgson (@GHodgsonSport) November 4, 2020
You can tell what each win means to him. Another player whose contract is set to run out at the end of the season.
Surely he deserves an extension into a 10th season at Deepdale, perhaps even a testimonial at the end of it all?
Finally, if you haven’t yet listened to the latest episode of the From the Finney podcast following last night’s 3-0 away victory in Berkshire, check it out in your usual streaming apps, by visiting this page or pressing play on the player below this paragraph or the player at the bottom of the page and don’t forget to give us a follow on twitter – @fromthefinney.