3 Things We Learnt From Preston North End’s Emphatic Victory Over Coventry City – Opinion

Friday evening forecasted an anticipated clash between two in-form teams vying for a Championship playoff spot this season. However, after a scintillating first-half display, it was nothing short of a domination by Ryan Lowe’s impressive Preston North End.

There are many takeaways from the Lilywhites’ comprehensive 3-0 win at the Coventry Building Society Arena, with the Lancashire side leapfrogging their opposition and moving into seventh place.

With three North End players handing their shirts to fans at full time, there was a sense of togetherness and acknowledgement of the fans encompassing a twelfth man.

The Championship playoff race is far from over

Looking at the table, Coventry City now find themselves sitting in eighth, one point behind North End after failing to capitalise on a good run of form. With the latter sitting two points off Hull City, the Championship playoff race has provided another twist in the tale. The Midlands-based club offered very little congruency when in possession which could prove either to be an off-day or a future weakness for other teams to exploit.

With Hull and West Bromwich Albion being the two most likely clubs to be in jeopardy of losing a playoff place, both will be looking to grab all three points in their fierce clash this weekend. The chasing pack will be watching intently with certainty that someone within catching distance will drop points.

Early, aggressive onslaughts prove to be effective

The Lancashire side offered a pressing intensity that they had been lacking in the months prior to their current good spell of form. With Danish striker Emil Riis opening the scoring in the first minute from a cleverly worked set piece, the Lilywhites punished Coventry for their clumsy first touches by putting two more past them.

Lowe will be delighted with his team as they worked as a unit to nullify the Sky Blues’ attempts to play out from the back. Mark Robins will undoubtedly be the unhappier manager as his side missed some decent opportunities which could’ve clawed them back into the game.

Coventry City chasing shadows

The ball bounced kindly for Preston quite frequently in the first half as they rightly took full advantage of this fortune and ran away with the tie. It was somewhat of an off day for Coventry – nothing went their way as their touches were heavy and passes were often wayward.

Preston came out in the second half and provided a professional display, maintaining possession for the most part and subsequently keeping a clean sheet to help their worrying goal difference. Mark Robins’ side looked like they were chasing shadows and never really offered any sign of a comeback. 

A concerted effort is required from the Sky Blues to focus on more solidity in the midfield and look to retain possession better, even against a team as persistent as Preston. This is a vital improvement if they want to carry on their push for play-offs this season.

Lowe’s men showed their cutting edge as they quickly shut down a noisy home turnout with a first-minute opener. It was evident that the Lancashire outfit simply wanted it more and every player put their body on the line to regain possession.

For Coventry, however, they must bounce back from this defeat and stay on course for a playoff fight. With their next league meeting at the Hawthorns on Friday, it’s do or die for the Sky Blues in a huge six-pointer.

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