Alex Neil said his side were worthy of the point they gained from the visit of Bristol City to Deepdale as the two sides played out a thrilling 3-3 draw.
The visitors had looked set to go in at the break two goals to the good, but penalties either side of half-time from Paul Gallagher and Daniel Johnson drew the Lilywhites level, with Patrick Bauer scoring his first goal for PNE to cancel out Nathan Baker’s effort on the hour.
And although the manager was pleased with his players’ spirited fightback to take something from the game having been 2-0 down, he also told iFollow PNE that in conceding three goals at home, the team weren’t worthy of all three points.
“I think if you’re 2-0 down in any game, getting a point is always good,” Alex said. “I think our biggest disappointment is the fact that we’ve conceded from three set plays.
“Before today, we were the best in the league for defending our box from set plays, so to concede three in one game is extremely disappointing.
“I think if you need to score three goals at home to get a point then that’s disappointing defensively for us because I thought in the game in the main, defensively we were okay. I just think when the ball came into the box from dead balls, it caused us real problems today, so that was our biggest frustration.
“Having said that, I think that when you’re 2-0 down in any game, to come back and get something from it shows real character and I thought the players showed that.
“We were losing today on three separate occasions and had the bottle and the courage to keep probing and keep playing. We didn’t just bang the ball in, we were moving it and we tried to probe and get up the pitch.
“I thought we deserved a point, we created enough chances in the game to win, but when you defend set plays as poorly as we did today, I don’t think we deserved to win the game.”
The manager felt his team geed themselves up well to come back from that two-goal deficit, after the atmosphere inside Deepdale had turned after the visitors’ contentious second goal.
“At that stage, it was becoming a little bit of a pantomime after that second goal; everybody’s booing the referee and every foul we felt was going their way.
“What we needed to do was get that out the way quickly, get refocused and then get the next goal before half-time and we did that.
"Credit to the lads, that gave us a lifeline because at half-time, my team talk changes and it’s a case of the next goal’s hopefully going to be the one that will kick us on to go to try and win the match.
“I thought we started really brightly, second half we moved the ball at a quicker tempo. First half, although we played okay, I thought a lot of balls were sort of skirting off our feet, we were getting into good areas but our final ball wasn’t good enough, we didn’t choose the right shot or the right pass, whereas I thought second half that got tidied up a little bit.
“I thought the conditions certainly played a part today as well though, first half in particular was a heavy, heavy downpour.”
Alex was pleased to come away with a draw overall though as attentions now turn to the trip to Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.
“This league’s a tough league, Leeds lost at Charlton, it’s a tough, tough a league. You can go anywhere and lose; if you’re not on it, it’s going to be a problem for you.
“For a lot of the exertions we put in at Man City, albeit I think we had maybe five guys that started that game playing today, that was always going to take its toll a little bit today and I think it did first half and we picked up a little bit in the second and obviously then we needed to go again.
“I think we just chalk it off, make sure next time set plays wise we need to improve and then we go onto the next one.”
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