Ryan Lowe felt his side’s performance was “well worthy” of the three points against Coventry City and he was left frustrated with the circumstances in which the hosts’ 98th-minute equaliser came.
Preston North End looked as though they were all set to leave the Coventry Building Society Arena with the victory after Daniel Johnson’s 89th-minute penalty gave them the lead.
DJ was made to wait to take his spot-kick due to a couple of home supporters who intruded onto the field of play, and as a result six minutes were added on.
Fabio Tavares came on as a substitute in that time and he drew the home side level with 98 minutes on the clock.
Speaking to iFollow PNE post-match, Ryan said: “It’s very difficult to take when your lads have given you everything and are well worthy of three points, then to be undone by, I don’t know whether it was a wrong decision or the minutes [added].
“There’s six minutes up and we’ve played seven [minutes and] 20 [seconds], so I’m disappointed in that.
“The minutes he put up were through no fault of our own. I think it was the crowd obviously running on the pitch and the referee’s put the time on for that, but I thought there was only one team that was going to go and win it, and that was us.”
An eventful ending to the game started in the 84th minute, when Liam Lindsay was shown a second yellow card and was therefore dismissed, a decision which the manager felt was “soft”.
North End then went straight down the other end as Johnson broke free to play the ball through to Emil Riis, and the Dane was brought down by Fankaty Dabo, who also saw red.
Johnson then stepped up to take the spot-kick, calmly dispatching to the goalkeeper’s left.
Asked how he was feeling at that point, Ryan said: “Happy days, three points in the bag. It’s a fantastic run, a fantastic slide [pass], Emil gets bundled over and there’s a delay with the penalty through no fault of our own.
“We put the penalty away and you think ‘yeah let’s see it out’. We bring Ledo [Ryan Ledson] on just to sure it up a little bit, but most of it I’m pleased with and proud of the group for what they’ve been doing, especially away from home.
“Even at home, we could be sitting here with an extra four points [this week], but we’re not, but that’s not for the lack of trying.
“I think the decision in terms of the minutes that’s gone up has stopped us getting three points because I thought we were well worthy of it.
“We brought Emil on, went three strikers up front and had a four in midfield because we thought we had the ascendency to go and get the win, and we were on our way to get that win, but for obvious reasons we didn’t.”
North End were again backed by a fantastic number of supporters, with at least 2,500 PNE fans in the away end, and at the end of the game they showed their appreciation for the team’s performance, despite the late frustration.
“They were fantastic,” Ryan added. “They’ll get home and they’ll look at it themselves and know why because if you put six minutes up you play six minutes.
“They’ll get home and see plus eight, and they’ll be thinking well why was there eight minutes? But they were fantastic.
“I kept the lads out there. I didn’t want them just walking over and clapping, the lads are disappointed, some fans will be disappointed, but they’ve been brilliant with us.
“Nearly 3,000 fans [were here], and I wanted to show the appreciation of not just me, but the staff and the players.
“We’re all as one and the more they keep doing what they’re doing, supporting us through thick and thin and travelling in the numbers the way they do, then the lads will put on performances like that on a weekly basis for them.”