Ryan Lowe feels his side were punished for not making the most of being the team in the ascendancy in Saturday’s West Lancashire derby.
Preston North End were beaten 4-2 at Bloomfield Road, with three second-half goals – after going into half-time at 1-1 – costing the visitors.
While the game was level at one each, PNE looked the more likely side to go and take the lead, but it was the hosts who went back in front to make the game two and then 3-1.
Ched Evans did pull a goal back in the final minute of normal time and North End threw players forward to try and find an equaliser, including goalkeeper Freddie Woodman who left his net unaccompanied, and CJ Hamilton scored with the final kick of the game on a fast break.
Ryan told iFollow PNE: “It definitely wasn’t a 4-2 game. I think they had five shots on target and four goals.
“I’m disappointed with the goals, but I thought at one stage we were looking well worthy of taking the three points, certainly not losing it.
“Then we turned the ball over on the halfway line, we jump out of slots for the second one, we free their lad up to get a shot from 20-odd yards out – a great strike – and then the third one is disappointing.
“It’s a little stand-up and someone heads it in. Then obviously we’re throwing caution to the wind, we get one back, and we leave space open at the back.
“I said to Fred I don’t like my ‘keepers going up, but it was too loud to get the message on, because he can save with his hands and Ben Whiteman can’t, and we were punished for that.
“I’m proud of the boys for how they performed, how they played, but I’ve said to them when we’re in the ascendancy we’ve got to put the ball in the back of the net.
“We’ve got to make sure we find that clinical pass, and today we didn’t and that’s us at the moment.”
North End were forced into a change in the second half, with Greg Cunningham having to come off, and on in his place came Bambo Diaby, who played in the centre of the back three while Liam Lindsay moved across to the left.
According to the manager, the Senegalese defender was blaming himself for at least one of the goals, but Ryan was quick to ensure the responsibility was shared by all.
“They’re disappointed,” said Ryan, about his players. “Bambo is disappointed, he’s lost his man and he shouldn’t be losing him, but it’s not his fault.
“He’s taking responsibility and we take responsibility collectively. It’s never just one man’s fault.
“Yeah he could have done better, we know that, but we could’ve done better for the second one as well.
“We take responsibility together collectively, and ultimately we’ve had to take responsibility of losing a game of football today.
“But we have to go again, get back to the training pitch, get back to the drawing board, and we’ll hopefully try and put it right the next game.”
PNE now have a full week before a return to action, with Middlesbrough next up for Ryan and his players at Deepdale.
He said: “It is important because we lost Hughesy [Andrew Hughes] yesterday. He obviously couldn’t play because of a bit of a pull in his thigh, and Greg [Cunningham] has been up all night sick but wanted to play.
“You have to get over these obstacles that get in your way. We’ve come off the back of a fantastic win and result the other night, and now we’re off the back of a loss.
“We’ve got another game to put it right and that’s certainly what we’ll do. We’ll pick the lads up, we’ll rest and recover them, and we’ll go again.”