Roper Reports will endeavour to make sense of the recent happenings at North End and offer general comment on the world of Football.
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Date with destiny (Part 2)
Friday 8th May 2015
A very strange atmosphere prior to the game at Chesterfield on Thursday evening with many fans I spoke to still in shock from the events down in Essex last weekend. Score line predictions on the game ranged from a heavy defeat to a big win and most permutations in between. I'm certain that if we don't manage to make it via the play offs then the main reason will be the failure to get a result at Colchester. Anyway last weekend has gone and it's this weekend now so let's look forward to what should be an absolutely cracking game at Deepdale on Sunday lunchtime.
In terms of the football it is advantage Preston and I actually think that the result at the Proact Stadium was much better than the 1-0 might suggest. Chesterfield adopted some questionable tactics at times in my opinion and were lucky that they didn't finish the game with nine men let alone ten. I thought the referee did well early on and tried to let the game flow but when the going got tough I thought he was too lenient particularly with the home side. North End hold the one goal advantage thanks to a typical Jermaine Beckford effort in the sixth minute of the game after Garner let the ball run through after being fouled. Beckford calmly lifted the ball over Lee in the Chesterfield goal and that was the last time the scorers were troubled on the evening. North End had a few further chances but the one or two they had were of good quality. The Spireites on the other hand had plenty of the ball but just couldn't finish and a rearguard action towards the end saw us home on the night and set it up wonderfully for Sunday.
Just what the crowd will be on Sunday has been open to some debate with some people saying it may be as low as 13,000. Chesterfield have got an initial 2,000 with a further 1,000 should they sell out. I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine there will only be 11,000 home fans in the ground even after the punishment the team has put us through recently. I suspect the crowd will be around 16,000 although I'm naturally hoping for a sell out in all the home areas. As far as the match goes I thought both sides were running on near empty last night at the end of the game and with such a short turn round it will be interesting to see if both managers shuffle their pack a little in a game with such high stakes. Clearly we will have to take the game to them a bit more and as Grayson said today the first goal in the match will be very important, so let's hope North End start like they did on Thursday evening – the stakes just couldn't be higher.