Match report: Bamber Bridge 0-3 Preston North End - Ben Woodburn nets in first trial match
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A determined first half performance saw Brig take North End into half time at 0-0, though goals from Ben Whiteman, Ben Woodburn and Mikey O’Neill in the second half saw the visitors through as the victors.
It was a sunny day at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, much different to last season’s which was rained off, with plenty of supporters down to get their football fix once again.
There was a mix of youth an experience in PNE’s sides for both halves, with both new signings starting between the sticks in each 45 too.
PNE’s first half starting XI: Woodman, Storey, Bauer, Cunningham, Potts, Ledson, DJ, Mawene, Coulton, Maguire, Riis.
The first notable incident in the game was an unfortunate one, Sean Maguire limping off after seven minutes. The Irishman picked up his knock away from the action.
It took North End 10 minutes to craft their first chance of the game, Brad Potts coming forward from right wing back and feeding Emil Riis further down the wing.
Last season's top scorer checked inside and looked to find the far corner on his left foot but could not get the required curl to bring it back inside the post.
Paul Dawson had Brig's first chance of the match eight minutes later, he cut inside from the left to strike well towards the far corner but for the head of Patrick Bauer to divert the ball away.
Jordan Storey shot at goal four minutes later from a PNE corner but it was swiftly blocked.
The visitors could have got themselves the lead after 31 minutes, Mikey O’Neill saw his shot from six yards cannon back up off the crossbar, with Noah Mawene’s acrobatic volley on the follow up wide.
The latter also saw a header go just wide of the post seven minutes from the interval.
There was still time for one more chance for the first half XI, Ryan Ledson and Daniel Johnson exchanged passes with the Jamaican bending towards the far corner, without the necessary curl to come back inside the post.
There were nine changes for PNE in the second half, with trialist Ben Woodburn amongst them.
North End's second half XI: Cornell, Olosunde, Lindsay, Hughes, Seary, Bennett, Whiteman, Woodburn, Coulton, Evans, O’Neill.
Just five minutes into the second period, Lowe's men had the lead. Neat interplay from Lewis Coulton and Ben Woodburn saw the latter cushion a pass into the path of the marauding Andrew Hughes forward from centre half, who went down under a challenge. Skipper for the second 45 Ben Whiteman stepped up to stroke the ball into the back of the net, past one of seven from the esteemed Trialist family at Irongate.
Brig made a chance for themselves just a few minutes later, North End were caught in possession at the back which allowed Isaac Sinclair the chance to fire at goal but it was straight at Dai Cornell.
Preston would double their lead after 55 minutes, Aaron Bennet played the ball forward into Mikey O’Neill who found Woodburn advancing from midfield who took the ball on and found the far corner expertly.
O’Neill got himself on the scoresheet on 68 minutes, turning home Lewis Coulton’s cross in what was a strong seconf half performance for the pair.
16 minutes from time the academy product nearly had a second of the day, Matthew Olosunde playing a lovely ball through from right centre back for O’Neill to run onto, firing across goal but off the foot of the post.
The game peetered out in the end, North End in a comfortable lead and a Bamber Bridge side that ran out of legs, understandably against Championship opposition and without the luxury of another XI to choose from.
Attendance: 2, 152.