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Alex Neil frustrated by Preston’s wasted chances in Wycombe draw

Preston North End v Brighton and Hove Albion – Carabao Cup – Third Round – Deepdale Stadium
(Image credit: Jason Cairnduff)

Alex Neil rued Preston’s missed opportunities in their 2-2 draw with Wycombe.

Neil’s men started the season with five successive defeats at Deepdale and their desperate home form looked set to worsen when Garath McCleary and Scott Kashket struck.

But Jason McCarthy’s own goal on 87 minutes denied the visitors a first win in six and saw the Lilywhites collect a fourth home point of the campaign from a possible 24.

“I thought we were good and looked dangerous, but when Ben (Pearson) went off (with injury) it affected us,” said Neil.

“I thought losing him was a big blow for us, certainly in terms of how we wanted to play. We just missed him on the pitch.

“Once he went off we probably lacked a bit of courage on the ball.

“But we just didn’t move the ball well enough. When you do move the ball well then you can pick them off.

“We switched off for their second goal and then you know it’s going to be tough.

“We went direct at the end and got the goal. After that we got two really good chances to get the win.

“Did we deserve to win the game? No.

“If you’re going to win these types of games you’ve got to take those opportunities.”

The opening goal of a helter-skelter contest came when Tom Barkhuizen scored his fourth goal in five games, capitalising on a poor headed back pass from Josh Knight.

Pearson then limped off with a freak injury after he collapsed to the ground clutching his knee with no player nearby.

The visitors levelled just three minutes into the second half as McCleary powered home from a tight angle.

Kashket put them in front, coolly slotting home for his first goal in a month when left-back Joe Jacobson’s thunderbolt free-kick struck the left upright.

But there was a late twist when McCarthy somehow deflected Sinclair’s cross into his own net.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth said: “We feel like we’ve lost the game, which for me is a big positive. It’s another really competitive point away in the Championship.

“To say Wycombe has come away to Preston and felt like we’ve lost, when in fact we’ve got a draw, is a real positive.

“We’ve been more than competitive and probably done more than enough to win the game.

“Their equaliser is just unfortunate, it’s a deflection, but going forward I thought in the second half we were very good.

“We had a lot of chances and probably had the two best chances of the game. We didn’t put them in, but on another day we probably see the game out. I’m really pleased with the boys.

“We were in the driving seat, but the character we’ve shown is what we need to stay in this division.

“We’ve got the belief and I think we’ve got the ability to stay in the division.”