Town manager Kieran McKenna has disclosed that the Blues received an apology from last week’s officials for Preston’s first two goals in last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Deepdale.
Skipper Sam Morsy appeared to be fouled by Will Keane prior to the former Town striker’s opening goal in the fifth minute, but referee Graham Scott failed to see anything wrong.
Then, three minutes later, there was a blatant offside in the build-up to the second, which George Edmundson inadvertently pushed past Vaclav Hladky, despite being missed by assistant referee James Mainwaring.
McKenna: Officials Apologised For First Two Preston Goals
Friday, 9th Feb 2024 15:38
Town boss Kieran McKenna has revealed that the Blues received an apology from last week’s officials regarding Preston’s opening two goals in last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Deepdale.
Skipper Sam Morsy appeared to be fouled by Will Keane ahead of the first goal in the fifth minute, which the former Town striker scored, but referee Graham Scott failed to spot anything untoward.
Then, three minutes later, there was a clear offside in the build-up to the second, which was inadvertently put past Vaclav Hladky by George Edmundson, also not seen by assistant referee James Mainwaring.
“Yes, I think it was stated that both first goals shouldn’t have counted and I think that’s clear watching it back,” McKenna said when asked about the apology.
“The first goal is a clear foul, taking away the massive deflection on the shot from 28 yards, and the second goal is a clear offside.
“I said at the time it’s a tough game anyway, but when you have those two instances happen in the first seven minutes of the game, it’s always going to be tough. There can be credit taken from the way we came back from that situation.”
While the opening to the Preston game was somewhat skewed by the two goals, the Blues might have conceded in the opening 70 seconds, hardly the first time Town have started a game slowly or allowed the opposition to get their noses in front in this season.
“There’s two sides to it,” McKenna reflected. “You might argue that we started the game poorly, but it was because two goals should have been disallowed in the first seven minutes.
“It wasn’t like the players weren’t running or on top of their game, so there were moments.
“I believe we’ve had a number of games this year in which there have been random moments, refereeing decisions, amazing goals, or individual blunders, all of which may occur in a football match.
“But we don’t conceal the reality that, particularly away from home, there have been a few more games than we would like in which we have conceded the first goal.
“Especially in a couple of the away games we haven’t managed to get a foothold in the game as steadily as we would want to in the early stages of the game, and that’s something that we’ve looked at and will continue to look at.
“We always review every bit of the team and how we’re progressing and try and identify areas that we can improve, but at the same time, football is a random game sometimes.
“The players prepared really well last week for the game, I certainly don’t have any problem with the attitude and energy at the start of the game. They scored a deflected goal from 28 yards that should have been a free-kick and that turns into a bad start.
“So I think there’s been a few of those, but there’s also things that we’ve identified and we’ll look at to give us a better chance to get a good footing in the game.”
Town have won only one of their last eight league games, a streak identical to this time last year, which preceded the astonishing unbeaten 15-game drive to promotion (13 wins and two draws).
McKenna was asked if there were similarities between the sticky spell last year and the current scenario.
“I believe you will always have different seasons,” McKenna considered. “Maybe one club will this year, but throughout the course of a 46-game season, you will not have a phase in which you win every game.
“Last Saturday was the league’s first loss in six games, and the league’s first loss since 2024.
“You’ll have stages anyway, and we’ll definitely have phases in this division.
“So we don’t need any comfort, but last season we had periods that were probably around the same time of year, as well as some similarities in injuries and players absent during the winter.
“We’re now in the process of integrating new signings into the team, which does not happen overnight, and I don’t think you’ll see us at our peak in terms of integration within a week.”
“So we’re trying to achieve that while getting players back from injuries and keeping our group as fit as possible.
“Also continuing to compete in a really tough division where every game is difficult and compete at times where things go against you like they did last week with two decisions, and also an element of last week playing on a difficult football pitch to play football on, so there are lots of things you can take.
“For us, we knew going into the season there were going to be spells where you don’t win as many games.
“That’s why we’re pretty consistent in terms of sticking to the day-to-day work, doing the right things in the right attitude and culture in the building, which I’m seeing and enjoying our work day-to-day and looking forward to taking each game as it comes. That’s what we’ve done last year and what we’re continuing to do this year.”