Ryan Lowe is relieved that triple substitutions are paying off…
Ryan Lowe was relieved after his half-time gamble as three substitutions paid off after Preston claimed a 2-0 win against Bristol City.
North End struggled in the first half but the introduction of attacking trio Emil Riis, Mads Frokjaer-Jensen and Will Keane changed the game.
Keane proved to be the match winner, scoring twice in the second half to secure Preston a first win since Boxing Day.
Lowe admitted he was hesitant to make such drastic changes because of the risk of humiliating starters Duane Holmes, Milutin Osmajic and captain Alan Browne, but his hunch proved correct.
“Sometimes when you change formations and personnel, your front three have to be in the game. Ours weren’t in the first half,” he said.
“I just felt we needed another threat up front. My gut feeling is best for me – and I’m just really glad it worked.
Ryan Lowe was happy that a three-way substitution paid off (Tim Markland/PA)
“We haven’t won in a few games so we didn’t want to go out in the second half and be down again. The substitutions have changed that.”
Preston were a different team in the second half and took the lead when Keane’s strike from the center of the goal was too good for City goalkeeper Max O’Leary.
Keane doubled the home side’s advantage when a Frokjaer-Jensen shot was saved as the pressure mounted. Keane then fired a brilliant left-foot shot into the bottom right corner for his eighth goal of the season.
“It was a very pleasant victory, the players deserve a lot of credit. We went to the staff room at halftime and I said I had to make some brave decisions,” Lowe added.
“We made an effort and made some tough decisions, which meant that people had to go to the pitch at half-time, including our captain.
“But I just felt like we needed a little more power at the top of the field. I had a feeling that whoever scored first would win the game – and I wanted that to be us.
“We changed shape and wanted to be at the forefront. I said to the boys: don’t wait for something to happen, because if they score, our backs will be against the wall.”
After three wins in a row in December, Bristol City have now gone without a win in four games and have subsequently dropped to fourteenth place in the table.
They face West Ham in an FA Cup replay on Tuesday and boss Liam Manning has called on his team to be more creative.
“We need to create more chances, which I will always say, but we created enough to be ahead at half-time,” he said.
“When you’re at the top like that, you have to make it count – and we didn’t do that. We have to work very hard to score goals at a high level, while the goals we concede are too easy.
“What you can’t do is give away easy goals and not be ruthless at the other end.
“It was difficult to watch in the second half, but there was a lot of good in the first half.
“But it converts that good into results, which we haven’t done.
“We had some great chances – and from set pieces – and good control for long periods in the first half, but we didn’t make any of them count.
“I didn’t feel too threatened, but at half-time they had three chances that had a big impact.”
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