PRESTON NORTH END 2 BRENTFORD 0

Stewart Purvis was at Deepdale for another frustrating away trip:

After the high of the home win against Derby it was back to square one with the  Bees struggling again to find the answer to an attack minus Maupay and a midfield without Sawyers. 

Head coach Thomas Frank chose an unchanged team with Sergi Canos staying at right wing back. Noticeably new striker Nicolaos Karelis was judged to be not ready even for a place on the subs bench. His Championship debut may be a few weeks away yet.

For Preston Sean Maguire and Thomas Barkhuizen, who PNE fans feared might not be fit to play, started up front and within minutes had an impact. From the kick-off Brentford barely got out of their own half let alone into Preston’s box as wave after wave of attacks rained down on the Bees. The almost inevitable chance came in the fourth minute when the third corner in as many minutes wasn’t cleared properly and an unmarked Maguire turned it past David Raya. 

Somewhat surprisingly Brentford had the better of the rest of the first half. On the left, Said Benrahma, in his 50th game for the Bees, linked up well with Ollie Watkins but the chance came to nothing. Then two clear chances fell to Bryan Mbeumo on the right. Canos was creating a supply line of through balls to Mbeumo but twice the French forward, returning from scoring in an under-21 international, lost control. However these chances masked the problems in midfield where Frank was persevering with the Danish duo of Christian Norgaard and Mathias Jensen but to no great effect against the pony-tailed Daniel Johnson. But overall at halftime the stats reflected a balanced game which many fans felt the Bees could go on to win.

As it turned out the Bees didn’t get better. Benrahma got himself in regular rows with Preston defenders, Mbeumo was tiring and Watkins just wasn’t getting the service he needed to keep up his goal tally. Half-way through the 45 minutes Frank switched formation going to four at the back with Mokotjo reinforcing the midfield and Canos moving forward to replace Mbeumo. It didn’t work. Five minutes later Pontius Jansson tried one of his characteristic back headers to his goalie. It went awry and Raya and Dalsgaard challenged each other in the air to clear it. The ball eventually fell to Darnell Fisher who was unmarked on the right and he crossed for a simple tap-in by Barkhuizen.

Another reinforcement of midfield muscle came with Josh Dasilva replacing Jensen but there was no way back into the game for the Bees. Canos was less effective upfront than he had been at wing back and when Benrahma did break through once he was brought down by a stiff right arm across the throat. Preston defensive sub Brad Potts, with the physique of a rugby forward, got into regular tangles with Rico Henry and the game fizzled out with barely a Brentford chance. 

The 579 Bees fans were left wondering whether Derby had been even worse than we thought, creating a flattering and false impression about Brentford’s chances of moving up the table. The Bees are 18th while Preston moved up to 5th. Next up for Brentford a home game against Stoke who after seven matches have only one point. 

 

Preston North End: Rudd; Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Rafferty; Browne, Ledson (sub Gallagher ); Bodin (Harrop), Johnson, Maguire; Barkhuizen (Potts)

Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Jeanvier; Canós, Nørgaard, Jensen (Dasilva ), Henry; Mbeumo (Mokotjo 65), Watkins, Benrahma