Match report: Wolves 1 PNE 0

Preston North End's season finished on a flat note as they went down to defeat to Wolves at Molinuex.

Sunday, 7th May 2017, 2:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:03 pm
Wolves v PNE

It was a fifth loss in six games, a solitary point taken from bottom club Rotherham in that sequence as the campaign drifted to a finish.

The goal which settled this contest came with just 61 seconds on the clock, home skipper Danny Batth left unmarked to head in at a corner.

North End were dreadful in the first half and while slightly better in the second, never really looked like finding an equaliser.

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Substitute Daryl Horgan's 90gth minute shot which keeper Harry Burgoyne tipped over the bar, was the visitors' best chance to drew level.

Simon Grayson had made three changes to the side which had drawn with Rotherham last weekend.

Ben Pearson and Paul Gallagher returned in midfield after suspension, with Andy Boyle getting his place back in the centre of defence.

Alan Browne, Daniel Johnson and Paul Huntington dropped to the bench.

North End made an awful start, falling behind with barely a minute on the clock.

Jordan Graham won a corner on the Wolves left and it was the winger who delivered the flag-kick over to the far post where an unattended Batth headed home.

The remainder of the first half was played at two-thirds pace at best, neither side finding any rhythm.

Gallagher lifted a free-kick high over the bar, while Wolves left-back Silvio sa Pereira saw a shot deflect off Tyias Browning and out for a corner.

Having started in a 3-4-1-2 system, North End switched to 4-4-2 after 20 minutes in an attempt to find some spark.

In the 23rd minute, Tom Barkhuizen's long throw-in from the right found Browning in the box but his header flew across goal and dropped well wide of the far post.

Another Barkhuizen throw was cleared out of the box was far as Gallagher , his first-time shot taking a deflection and dropping into the gloves of goalkeeper Harry Burgoyne.

Stevie May dragged a low right-foot shot from 25 yards wide of the target six minutes before the interval.

While it must be assumed North End got a rocket from Grayson at half-time, it was the home side who were out of the traps quickly for the second half, going close with three chances in quick succession.

In the 48th minute, Nouha Dicko whipped the ball off Alex Baptiste's toes as he tried to control Tommy Spurr's pass, the Wolves man surging down the inside-right channel before cutting the ball back into the path of Bright Enobakhare.

The midfielder struck his shot well but it cannoned off the post and bounced clear to safety,

Pereira's powerful shot from 25 yards flew inches past the post, then with the PNE defence all over the place, Dicko got away down the left hand side of the box and saw his shot hit Maxwell's legs.

That was the cue for Huntington to join the action, replacing the out-of-sorts Browning.

On the hour mark, Enobakhare got clear on goal, Maxwell stretching out his right foot to block the youngster's shot.

North End produced their first chance of the second half in the 64th minute, Jordan Hugill looping a header on to the top of the net after meeting an Aiden McGeady free-kick.

Spurr's cross soon after found Hugill again, this time the striker's header was plucked out of the air by Burgoyne.

Jermaine Beckford joined the action in the 66th minute, replacing Hugill, this likely to be the striker's farewell appearance with his contract up in June.

The third change saw Horgan come on for Barkhuizen as Grayson looked to inject some spark into proceedings.

In the closing stages, a shot from Huntington was deflected behind for a corner, before their best chance of an equaliser came in the 90th minute.

Beckford's pass found Horgan 20 yards out, the Irishman's left-foot curler tipped over the bar at full stretch by Burgoyne.

Wolves: Burgoyne, Coady, Batth, Hause, Pereira, Edwards, Saiss, Weimann (Iorfa 87), Enobakhare, Graham (Mason 64), Dicko (Bodvarsson 77). Subs (not used): Stearman, Saville, Evans, Lonergan.

PNE: Maxwell, Browning (Huntington 52), Baptiste, Boyle, Spurr, Barkhuizen (Horgan 71), Pearson, Gallagher, McGeady, May, Hugill (Beckford 66). Subs (not used): Browne, Johnson, Robinson, Hudson.

Referee: Darren England (Barnsley)

Attendance: 20,163 (863 PNE)