- Preston North End News
- News Archive
- League Table
- League One News
'Humbled' Irvine hails Owls comeback
Published : 17 Mar 2010 10:47:03
Irvine, 51, was surprisingly sacked by North End in December 2009, despite an impressive two-year tenure in which he saved the Lancashire outfit from relegation before guiding them into the Championship play-offs last season. The Owls quickly snapped up Irvine to lead their battle against the drop, and his players illustrated their stomach for the fight by storming back from two goals down on Tuesday night. Neil Mellor fired Preston ahead in the 29th minute and when influential midfielder Paul Coutts added a second eight minutes after the restart, it looked all over for Irvine. Yet Wednesday hit back with a speculative effort from distance by Tommy Miller in the 53rd minute and Marcus Tudgay's superb finish drew the Owls level four minutes later. "It was a great response," said Irvine. "People are telling me it's a long time since Sheffield Wednesday have had a comeback like that, from being two goals down. "I'm delighted that we were able to do that but I wasn't happy that we got ourselves in that position in the first place. "But it was certainly a much better performance in the second half than in the first." Irvine lost winger Jermaine Johnson to injury after just nine minutes, replacing him with Tom Soares. He added: "I don't know whether the loss of Jermaine Johnson was a big blow psychologically because he's been excellent for us in recent games. "He gives us a cutting edge but we have to cope with these sort of setbacks." Irvine was given a warm reception by the Preston fans and admitted he was touched by their welcome. "It was fantastic," said the Scot, who revealed he has had plenty of support since he was ruthlessly shown the door from Deepdale in December. "I've had a lot of letters, e-mails and phone calls from people saying that I would get a nice reception, but I didn't quite expect that level of reception that I got. "It was very humbling and something that I'm really grateful for." Preston boss Darren Ferguson could not hide his frustration after seeing his side surrender a 2-0 lead. "It was an awful result," he said. "We were 2-0 up and cruising, and then I just don't know what happened to be honest. "We lost two really poor goals and it took us a while to get going again, probably until the last 15 minutes. "When you're 2-0 up you expect to win a game." Ferguson admitted Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan was to blame for allowing Miller's long-range strike to slip through his fingers and give Wednesday a lifeline. "Andy lets in a complete howler and goals do change games," said Ferguson. "I just felt we lacked composure when they got the first goal. It's two points dropped and a really disappointing result."