Match report: Bolton 0 PNE 0

John Welsh in action for PNE against Bolton
John Welsh in action for PNE against Bolton
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Preston North End's programme of pre-season friendlies finished on a drab note as they shared a goalless draw with Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium.

There was little to excite a 3,669 crowd, North End having the better chances in the first half before the action petered out in the second.

Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson used 19 players over the course of the afternoon, giving all his available outfield players one last run out before the season starts at Reading next Saturday.

Their best chance of the game fell to Jermaine Beckford in the 57th minute but he fired over the bar after connecting with a Joe Garner cross.

Grayson had named a strong starting XI, with a number of first-team regulars returning to the side after sitting-out last Tuesday night's 4-1 win at Morecambe.

Skipper Tom Clarke missed out through illness, while Alan Browne was rested as a precaution after getting a bang on the head in the Morecambe game.

North End started in a 4-3-1-2 system, Eoin Doyle playing just off front two Beckford and Garner.

In midfield, Paul Gallagher sat deep, with Ben Pringle and Daniel Johnson pushing further forward.

There was another appearance at right-back for Liam Grimshaw as Grayson considers his option for that side of the pitch in the absence of Calum Woods.

It was PNE who had slightly better of a first-half which never really got going against the backdrop of a small crowd.

In the 11th minute, Greg Cunningham's cross from the left was met by Garner who sent a volley inches too high.

Another Cunningham centre found Doyle shortly afterwards, the Irish striker putting his header too close to Trotters goalkeeper Mark Howard who saved comfortably.

Bolton's first proper sight of the North End goal was a header from David Wheater which was straight at Anders Lindegaard.

Beckford got his angles and direction all wrong when picked-out by a low Johnson cross, the striker - facing his former club - slicing a first-time shot high and wide.

A couple of promising PNE attacks failed to produce a chance, one such opportunity being when they broke four against two on their hosts, only for Beckford's pass to prove strong for Pringle to meet.

In the 33rd minute, Doyle was inches away from getting his head to Cunningham's cross.

The second half started in a similar way to the first, with neither side really firing to the maximum.

Frazer Richardson's right-wing cross found its way over to Max Clayton at the far post, the Bolton man putting a looping header too high as Grimshaw challenged him.

In the 58th minute, Garner's ball in bounced invitingly for Beckford but he lifted a first-time shot over the bar from 12 yards.

Grayson made his first two substitutions after an hour, Callum Robinson and Tommy Spurr replacing Beckford and Cunningham.

A bigger wave of replacements came eight minutes later, with Simon Makienok, Jordan Hugill, Chris Humphrey, John Welsh and Ben Pearson joining the action.

Robinson tried his luck with an ambitious effort, cutting inside from the left channel but seeing his shot fly across goal and go well wide of the far post.

With 80 minutes gone, Hugill connected with a Robinson corner but sent his header over the bar.

At the other end, a clearance from Spurr fell to Chris Taylor 25 yards out, the Wanderers substitute driving a shot over the top without troubling Lindegaard.

Taylor had the contest's final chance, a 90th minute shot which Lindegaard positioned himself behind to save comfortably.

Bolton: Howard, Richardson (Wilson 67), Wheater (Collins 78), Beevers, Moxey, Pratley, Vela (Trotter 75), Spearing, Davies (Taylor 75), Madine (Newell 81), Clayton (Woolery 67). Subs (not used): Derik, Finney, Walker, Amos, Jaaskelainen.

PNE: Lindegaard, Grimshaw (Humphrey 68), Wright, Huntington, Cunningham (Spurr 60), Pringle (Welsh 68), Gallagher, (Pearson 68) Johnson (Davies 78) Doyle (Makienok 68), Garner (Hugill 68), Beckford (Robinson 60). Subs (not used): Maxwell, Hudson.

Referee: Andy Madley (Yorkshire)

Attendance: 3,669 (800 PNE)