Review & Ratings: Preston North End vs. Nottingham Forest


I think it’s safe to say this is a game that North End fans won’t be talking about in 6 months never mind 6 years. However, Alex Neil and his men can consider themselves a little lucky to have gained a point despite starting brightly and arguably, should have been ahead inside the first 10 to 15 minutes.

A mixture of bad touches, poor finishing North End and a decent save with his leg from Costel Pantilimon meant North End didn’t find the net for only the second time since the 1-0 defeat away at Hillsborough on December 22nd. In the 10 games since then, North End have averaged 1.5 goals per game but, credit to the Forest keeper. As for Forest, they probably feel hard done to with another abject refereeing performance in two games.

Martin O’Neill’s men had the ball in the back of Declan Rudd’s net twice, but both were disallowed. The first was correctly ruled out for offside but the second one, I’m still not sure what exactly the referee disallowed it for and I’ve watched it back a handful of times. On that one, Forest fans can definitely feel hard done by. Aside from that, I don’t really recall Declan Rudd having too much to do.

A positive to come from the game for the Lilywhites is that it’s now 7 games unbeaten and another clean sheet, only the 7th we’ve kept so far this season and the second 0-0 draw of the season with the first one coming on Feb 1st against Derby County.

Stand Out Performers

Tough one is this. There was a lot of heavy legs and tired bodies out on that pitch, Lilywhites manager Alex Neil admitting as much himself stating that it was a “lethargic” game but, as far as the best on the pitch in white, it’s probably between the two young centre-backs again; Jordan Storey and Ben Davies.

Both have really come to the fore in the past few weeks and have started form a quite formidable partnership and it’s no coincidence that of the 7 clean sheets we’ve kept this season, 4 of those have come with young Storey in the back line. Since the Doncaster game in the FA Cup on January 6th, Jordan Storey has started 7 league games on the bounce and we’ve conceded 4 goals in that time, an average of 0.57 goals per game compared to the 7 games prior to the Doncaster game in which Paul Huntington started, we conceded 11 goals, an average of 1.57 goals per game.

Player Ratings

Declan Rudd

Not really tested on any level but steady enough. Looked to have been a bit shifty in what lead to Forest’s second goal being disallowed.

Rating – 6

Darnell Fisher

Looked knackered yesterday to be quite frank. Not surprising but not his best game by any stretch.

Rating – 6

Jordan Storey

Some of his passes were a bit off but on the whole, he looked good on the ball and seemed fairly comfortable throughout the game.

Rating – 7

Ben Davies

Besides looking a bit off the pace at times, which is unsurprising considering this past week, he played well. Handled Grabban well and was his usual, dependant, solid self that we’ve come to expect.

Man of the Match

Rating – 8*

Andrew Hughes

Overall, he defended okay but his quality on the ball was lacking. An average day at the office for the full-back who arrived from Peterborough in the summer.

Rating – 6

Ben Pearson

Was absolutely everywhere in the middle of the park. He was constantly trying to get North End going but sometimes the final pass wasn’t quite there. A solid enough game.

Rating – 7.5

Alan Browne

Not his usual self yesterday. Looked a lot less effective throughout the game but still covered a lot of ground but, you wouldn’t expect anything less from Browney these days.

Rating – 6.5

Paul Gallagher

Played a similar role as to the one he played at Bolton, just in off the left side. Played some quality passes around the pitch but was taken off at half time in order to allow for a change of system for North End. Also, maybe the fact it was his third game in a week played a part.

Rating – 6.5

Brad Potts

Both of North End’s best chances fell to Potts but he couldn’t take the opportunities. The first effort to be fair, he didn’t seem to know much about and the second was a good save from the keeper. Looked a little lost at times, though.

Rating – 6.5

Tom Barkhuizen

Was quite anonymous in the game but, considering the way he’d played against both Bolton and Norwich, he looked absolutely goosed. A game I’m sure he may have been better suited to coming off the bench with 15/20 minutes remaining as opposed to starting.

Rating – 6

Sean Maguire

He did okay considering the referee’s insistence on not pulling up Milosevic or Benalouane for some heavy handling of the Irish man.

Rating 6