Blackburn should have attacked Preston when level


Preston 3-2 Blackburn –

Had Blackburn played the whole of their game against Preston with the same intent that they did when behind, they might have gained a point or three. After both of Danny Graham’s equalizers however, they failed to take control and invited pressure onto themselves.

When the game was level, Preston looked the side hungrier for the win and they controlled the central areas early on. Callum Robinson caused problems for Ben Marshall and the ex-Aston Villa trainee’s cross on 17 minutes found Jordan Hugill, who laid the ball off for Daniel Johnson to curl it beyond Jason Steele.

Johnson turned from hero to villain four minutes later when he gave away a penalty for fouling the lively Sam Gallagher. Graham’s initial spot kick was saved but the industrious forward scored with his third attempt after a goalline scramble.

When Blackburn attacked after going behind, they got a goal within four minutes, yet they reverted to backing off Preston after the equalizer. Jason Lowe and Corry Evans were unable to gain a foothold in the midfield battle with Johnson and Ben Pearson. The hosts regained their status as the game’s more threatening side and Johnson turned hero again when he put his side in front from the spot, after the referee shrewdly spotted a handball.

Blackburn had a spell of control in the latter stages of the first half and threatened from set pieces. Preston enjoyed two good counter-attacks just after the interval, but once Marvin Emnes came on for Rovers, they applied pressure for long spells.

Owen Coyle’s side started to win the ball further up the pitch and play with more urgency. Graham was denied by a last-ditch block by the impressive Bailey Wright but the striker was not to be denied again. He was set through by Derrick Williams and finished calmly to draw Rovers level.

At that point, Preston looked rattled yet rather than take control, the visitors made the same mistake of sitting back and settling for a point. That proved to be their undoing as Preston found a winner through Robinson, arguably their best attacking player on the night. The forward has injected pace into a team that was lacking it earlier in the season and contrary to previous criticisms of the Lilywhites, who have not always provided much of a goal threat, they have scored in 11 of their last 12.

Likewise, Blackburn have players who can cause problems for defences – their problem on Saturday night was not so much how they attacked, but the frequency with which they did so.


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