Match report: Accrington Stanley 2 PNE 3

Accrington v PNE
Accrington v PNE
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Preston North End made it four wins out of four in pre-season with victory over Accrington Stanley at the Crown Ground.

Alan Browne and Callum Robinson scored late in the first half, with Greg Cunningham netting the third 15 minutes from time.

PNE boss Alex Neil

PNE boss Alex Neil

Cunningham's goal restored PNE's two-goal cushion after Jonny Edwards had scored for Stanley early in the second half.

The hosts again cut the deficit two minutes from time, the highly-rated Matty Pearson racing clear to shoot home.

It was another good work for Alex Neil's men, 24 hours after they had been beaten another League Two opposition in Morecambe.

The game had taken a while to spring into life, the first chance of any note coming in the 19th minute when Tommy Spurr's cross field pass found Robinson on the right-wing.

Robinson came inside and fired a low cross into the six-yard box which Reagan Ogle cleared.

Ben Pearson was booked as the half-hour mark approached - quite an achievement for a friendly - referee Darren Handley indicating it was for an accumulation of misdemeanors.

Stanley's Billy Kee tested Chris Maxwell with a free-kick after Pearson's yellow card, one which the PNE keeper got down to save comfortably.

North End scored twice in five minutes towards the end of the first half to take control of the contest.

In the 37th minute, Eoin Doyle got down the right hand side of the box and crossed low to Browne who swept a first-time shot low into the net from 12 yards.

The advantage was doubled three minutes before the interval, Browne starting the move with a good pass out of midfield to find Ben Pringle down the left channel.

Pringle moved into the box and picked out Robinson with a low cross, Robinson taking a touch before firing past goalkeeper Aaron Chapman.

Spurr almost scored a third goal in the 55th minute, the centre-half meeting a Pringle corner and sending a header goalwards - Chapman flinging himself back to tip it over the bar.

As it was, Accrington halved the deficit three minutes after Spurr's chance.

The North End defence failed to deal with a corner from the hosts and the ball eventually dropped to Edwards who drove a low shot into the bottom corner.

Alex Neil made a raft of substitutions just past the hour, nine players introduced from the bench - Browne and Pringle were the two to stay on.

With 68 minutes gone, Chapman saved at the feet of Pringle after Daryl Horgan's cross had found him at the far post.

Chapman was called into action again soon after, diving full length to parry Jordan Hugill's header from a Cunningham cross.

It was Cunningham who got PNE's third goal and a good finish it was too.

With the ball bouncing around beyond the back post after a corner, Cunningham lashed a shot into the roof of the net from the corner of the six-yard box.

Accy pulled a goal back in the 88th minute, Pearson disposing Pringle to run through and shoot past sub keeper Mat Hudson.

Accrington: Chapman, Donacien (Pearson 46), Hughes Mohammed 46), Sykes (Trialist 46), Ogle, Sousa (Clark 72), Nolan, Brown, McLeod, Kee (Beckles 46), Edwards. Subs (not used): McConville, Boco, Richards-Everton.

PNE: Maxwell (Hudson 61), Grimshaw (Vermijl 61), Huntington (Boyle 61), Spurr (Davies 61), Earl (Cunningham 61), Pearson (Meulensteen 61), Browne, Robinson (Horgan 61), Doyle (Barkhuizen 61), Pringle, May (Hugill 61).

Referee: Darren Handley (Bolton)

Attendance: 989