Bamber Bridge 0 Preston North End 2 - PNE start pre-season on a winning note

Preston North End kicked-off their pre-season friendly programme with victory over Bamber Bridge in the annual clash at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

Saturday, 6th July 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th July 2019, 6:00 pm
Preston manager Alex Neil

First-half goals from Tom Clarke and Louis Moult delivered the win in front a good sized crowd.

North End boss Alex Neil fielded a different XI in each half as he sought to give as many of his first-team squad a run-out.

Clarke gave the visitors a 10th minute lead from close range, an emphatic finish from Moult doubling the advantage 11 minutes before half-time.

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Graham Burke hit the woodwork for PNE, Daniel Wisdom doing likewise for Brig.

As the contest went on, North End had chances to increase the lead but home keeper Danny Roccia saved well from Alan Browne, Josh Ginnelly and Jayden Stockley.

It was a pleasing work out for Neil's men however, with the squad heading to Ireland on Sunday for a training camp in Cork.

North End started in a 4-2-3-1 system, Ryan Ledson and Daniel Johnson as the holding two in midfield, with Tom Barkuizen and Josh Harrop providing the width - Burke played in the No.10 role behind striker Moult.

Hosts Brig had an early sight of goal, Ryan White picking up a loose clearance from Ledson and firing wide of the target.

PNE took a 10th minute lead after Burke won a corner on the left.

Harrop delivered it right-footed into the box, Moult rose to angle a header into the six-yard box and Clarke bundled home a close-range finish.

It was an advantage which was almost doubled within a minute, Harrop meeting a cross from the lively Barkhuizen and sending a header narrowly wide of the near post.

Moult ran clear of the Brig defence to find the net in the 13th minute but the flag went up against the Preston man for offside.

At the other end, another shot from White clipped off Clarke's boot as he put in a block and deflected behind for a corner.

The woodwork denied North End, Burke's shot coming back off the post after Barkhuizen had got down the right hand side of the box and pulled the ball back into his path.

Burke was first to the rebound but saw his shot cleared as it spun goalwards.

North End had another 'goal' chalked off after half an hour, Burke's shot catching Jordan Storey on the wrist as it flew into the net.

They were not to be denied in the 34th minute though, doubling their lead in impressive style.

Burke surged forwards after getting possession in midfield, reaching the edge of the box before playing the ball into the path of Moult who drilled a delightful low finish across goal into the far bottom corner.

The home side weren't far away from pulling a goal back in the 38th minute, Ali Waddecar bending a shot wide after getting the better of Ben Davies as they competed for a bouncing ball outside the Preston box.

It was all change for the second half as PNE fielded a different XI, with them lining-up in the same formation as the first half.

Billy Bodin, who missed the whole of last season with a ruptured ACL, played on the right-wing and Ginnelly on the left.

Browne was in the advanced midfield role off Stockley, with Ben Pearson and Paul Gallagher in midfield.

At the back, summer signing Patrick Bauer partnered Paul Huntington.

Brig started the second half brightly, Wisdom seeing a close range shot come back off the foot of the post after he got behind the Preston defence.

North End responded with Bodin's cross from the right just evading Stockley in front of goal, while Gallagher was inches too high with a free-kick delivered right-footed from the left channel.

Roccia saved well from Stockley in the 66th minute, using his legs to block the big striker's shot on the turn.

Bodin showed a real willingness to get involved and looked lively as the second half went on.

The Welshman had one of the two chances which fell North End's way in quick succession as the contest entered its final quarter of an hour.

A shot from Browne hit Brig substitute Sidi Fofana on the head and forced Roccia to dive and push it behind.

When the corner was worked short, Bodin cut inside on his left foot and curled a shot inches wide of the far post.

In the 81st minute, Huntington's long ball forward was headed on by Stockley to release Ginnelly behind the home defence.

He held off a challenge to get a shot away but Roccia was equal to it, getting down well to block.

The keeper was at it again when Bodin's cross picked out Stockley in the middle - Stockley angling a header goalwards which Roccia dived to his right to glove away.

Bamber Bridge: Roccia, Churchman, Thomas (Fofana 59), Lawlor (Doughty 46), Charnock (Lawlor 63), Forbes (Spooner 46), Dudley (Buchan 73), Wisdom, Waddecar (Pett 63), Booth (Forbes 73), White (Roberts 81).

PNE (first-half): Ripley, Clarke, Storey, Davies, Hughes, Ledson, Johnson Barkhuizen, Burke, Harrop, Moult.

PNE (second half): Rudd, Rafferty, Huntington, Bauer, Earl, Pearson, Gallagher, Bodin, Browne, Ginnelly, Stockley.

Referee: Graham Salisbury (Preston)