Dughall on the reporting duties again, reviewing a 0-0 which hardly set the pulses racing. Will this season just end already?
Random star performer
Hardly an embarrassment of riches to choose from here. Once again, the might of Klose and Hanley as pillars of the central defence was a feature of a game where performances in the defensive zones were of far greater note than further up the pitch. These two Collossi were once again stalwart in defence of the majority of Preston’s increasingly urgent attempts at a breach. Hanley would probably edge this one, putting himself on the line a number of times, picking up a yellow for his efforts. Someone observed on Twitter that the ball can be got past him, or the man, but not both. You’ll never beat the Hanley....
Moment of the match
Hardly much to write home about here either. Gallagher’s free kick bouncing just the right side of the line off the underside of the cross bar? Possibly. There was also an excellent last-ditch tackle from Jamal Lewis to deny Preston a gilt-edged shooting opportunity. Having said that, the biggest moment of the match for me was the final whistle, bringing as it did, the end to an afternoon of frustrating nothingness and the opportunity to move closer to the end of an ultimately disappointing season.
Gone was the parka to reveal a short-sleeved back number. You could almost imagine that a faded Death Metal motif on the front and tour dates on the back might be fitting for one of Farke’s demeanour. What we got on the pitch was more of the same Farke fare. We know from first hand experience of the opposition manager that Alex Neil has no problem with sides enjoying possession against him and this was no exception. In the first half, Norwich had the best part of 60% of inert possession and did little to trouble the Lilywhites with not a single shot on target the whole game. This is always going to be the case whilst we lack the creative spark and clinical finishing that have eluded us so much this season. I’ll leave it there for fear of accusations of a broken record...
Biggest positive to take
It was sunny!
No, seriously, if we’re going to squeeze something positive out of something so supine, it would probably have to be the fact that we held a team who were clearly (and increasingly urgently) seeking three points to bolster their still realistic play-off hopes. Add to that the fact that we have nothing to play for and you could argue that a draw on the road to them wasn’t a bad outcome. I know, I’m scraping the barrel a bit here.
Might as well copy and paste from any number of former match reviews. Let’s just get to the transfer window and at least have the chance to look forward with optimism again. It is hard when there’s nothing to play for, no goals, not even any shots on target. Going to games at the moment feels to be more out of loyalty than for the football.
It felt like the crowd (as could be argued for the players) were also suffering ‘one-foot-in-the-flipflop’ syndrome. Maybe it was the sunshine lulling the away stand into soporific reveries of beaches, sangria and tapas, but more likely it was the dull fare being dished up on the pitch; the bottom line was that our support was poor. Preston, with their unrelenting and infuriating drum managed better and kept things going throughout.
This review marks a year almost to the day since my first match review for Along Comes Norwich (also at Preston North End) (https://www.alongcomenorwich.com/articles/preston-north-end-1-3-norwich-city-the-acn-review) and looking back to it makes for very interesting reading. A year ago, James Maddison was scoring on his senior debut for City, Josh Murphy was having a great game, it was a very, very rare away win and Norwich, transitioning from a time of Alex Neil and David McNally to Webber and Farke, were a very different club to the one they are now. I wrote a year ago, “Wholesale review and refresh is what’s needed now…” Well, I got my wish, that’s for sure. Am I happy? I think I’ll continue to reserve judgement.
While you're here. Two things; first, there's still time to pay homage to the little Irish Wessiah by purchasing a commemorative t-shirt from our store here.
Second; did you know we have a podcast? It's available via iTunes and Soundcloud. Alternatively you can just listen to it in your browser via our podcast page. The Canaries Trust Vice Chair Mandie Thorpe was our recent guest as we debated the latest talking points regarding NCFC.