Accrington Stanley 4 Preston North End 4: Eight-goal thriller in Central League clash

Preston North End staged a strong second-half fight back in an eight-goal thriller with Accrington Stanley in the Central League.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 3:34 pm

The clash at Euxton finished 4-4, North End having been 2-0 down at half-time and 3-1 behind in the second half.

After clawing back to 3-3, they conceded a fourth goal but Aaron Bennett’s deflected shot from 25 yards deep into stoppage-time earned a share of the spoils.

In what was officially Accrington’s home fixture, PNE fielded their Under-18s team and two first-year pros – the youth-team have been going so well in the North West Alliance.

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Preston North End midfielder Mikey O'Neill scores from the penalty spot in the 4-4 draw with Accrington. Pic: Ian Robinson/PNEFC

They fell behind just past the half hour, Jack Nolan finishing well from the edge of the box after seizing on a misplaced punched clearance from Lilywhites keeper Oliver Lombard.

It was a lead doubled two minutes before the interval, Marcel Lewis finishing from close range.

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North End were far better in the second half and pulled a goal back in the 51st minute, Bennett going past his man on the right and sending over a cross with Vaughn Green tucked away at the far post.

Accrington restored their two-goal cushion three minutes later, Nolan driving home an angled shot from the left corner of the box.

Joe Rodwell-Grant won a penalty in the 61st minute when he was bundled over by Stephen Sama.

Mikey O’Neill stepped-up to put the penalty into the bottom corner, keeper Liam Isherwood getting a touch but unable to keep it out.

Two minutes later PNE were back in it at 3-3, Bennett pushing towards the box and playing a one-two with Kian Taylor who did well after coming on as a substitute for the injured Josh Seary.

Bennett’s low shot was parried by Isherwood and Rodwell-Grant nipped in to knock home the rebound from three yards.

Taylor saw a 66th minute shot come back off the post after a powerful run on the right.

Accrington regained the lead with 15 minutes left, substitute Owen Devonport meeting a cross from the left to head home from six yards.

But North End had the final say with two minutes of stoppage-time played. Bennett picked up possession in a central area, pushed forward and hit a shot from distance which hit an Accrington defender and looped over the keeper.

PNE: Lombard, Wallbank, Blanchard, Best, Seary (Taylor 50), Amaral, Bennett, O’Neill, Slater, Rodwell-Grant, Green. Subs (not used): Lewis, Nelson, Cross-Adair, Davis.

Accrington: Isherwood, Patrick, Rich-Baghuelou, Moonan, Sama, Pritchard (Stowe 46), O’Sullivan (Devonport 68), Proctor, Nolan, Lewis (Trickett 85), Leigh (Poilly 75). Sub (not used): Hood.