PNE 1 Wigan Athletic 3

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Preston North End were comfortably beaten by Wigan Athletic at Deepdale on Sunday.

In terms of the quality of opposition, this was a huge step-up from what North End had previously faced in pre-season - and what they’ll come up against this term.

For example, Brown’s men won’t be facing the skills of Victor Moses in League One, the winger parting the home defence on a number of occasions.

It was the former Crystal Palace man who set up two of Wigan’s goals and netted the other, trialist Amine Linganzi on target with PNE’s reply.

Brown didn’t field the XI which can expect to start the visit of Colchester United to Deepdale on the opening day.

For one, the left-back slot is still there to be filled, with trialist Stephen Jordan playing there yesterday.

Linganzi and Darel Russell teamed up as an unlikely centre midfield pairing, with Barry Nicholson on the left.

Nicholson’s move out wide was prompted by the absence of Keith Treacy - unavailable to play with a transfer out of Deepdale to Burnley looking on the cards.

At the back, Craig Morgan was playing out of position at right-back - having to track Moses for his troubles - with Daniel Devine alongside Clarke Carlisle in the middle.

So there were probably more questions than answers at the end of the 90 minutes with the new campaign now just six days away.

North End found themselves a goal behind with only 25 seconds on the clock, Carlisle’s attempted clearance from Moses’ left-wing cross cannoning against James MCCARTHY’S chest and bouncing over the line.

And by the ninth minute, Latics had doubled their advantage, MOSES cutting in from the left, playing a neat one-two with Connor Sammon, before hitting a low shot which caught a delfection and crept into the far bottom corner of the net.

Slowly, PNE got themselves going after chasing shadows for that opening spell, Nicholson having the hosts’ first chance of the contest with a curling shot from the edge of the box which flew just wide.

Iain Hume’s pass then sent Neil Mellor chasing down the inside-right channel, Mellor holding off two defenders and letting fly with a well-struck shot which Latics’ veteran keeper Mike Pollitt dived to parry behind.

North End halved the deficit in the 27th minute, Nicholson’s right-wing corner met on the volley by LINGANZI 12 yards out, the midfielder’s shot powering into the roof of the net.

But within three minutes, the visitors had restored their two-goal cushion, helped by some slack home defending.

Moses played a short corner to Jordi Gomez, took the return pass, and crossed to the far post where the unmarked Emmerson BOYCE steered home a header.

Twice in the run-up to the interval, the Latics could have added to the scoreline, Gomez heading over from six yards after being set up by Moses.

Then Sammon fired a right-shot over the bar after a mistake on the edge of the box had let him in.

Five minutes into the second half, the impressive Moses came inside from the wing and let fly with a shot which only just cleared the angle of post and bar.

It then needed a fine sliding challenge by Morgan in the box to whip the ball off Moses’ toes as he homed in on goal.

There was a let-off for PNE after an hour, Gomez’s deep cross from the right picking out Moses at the back post.

The winger’s header looked to be going in until the ball struck his team mate Franco Di Santo on the back and went wide.

North End’s first real opening on the second half fell Hume’s way in the 64th minute, the skipper having picked up a stray Wigan pass in midfield, advanced forward before dragging a low shot wide of the target.

At the other end, Turner dived to save a low 20-yard shot from Moses, then Gomez hit the post after a great pass from former PNE loanee David Jones - currently on trial at Wigan - had played him in.

Carlisle looped a header into Pollitt’s gloves after Nicholson’s free-kick had picked him out on the left of the box.

With eight minutes left, an effort from substitute Doyle Middleton bounced off a Wigan player and into the path of Mellor who fired a shot straight at Pollitt.

Late on, substitute Jamie Proctor forced Pollitt to save with his legs after cutting along the byline.