Preston North End 1 Southampton 3 - Match report from Deepdale as PNE suffer their first pre-season defeat

Preston North End were beaten by Premier League Southampton in their pre-season friendly at Deepdale.

Saturday, 20th July 2019, 4:54 pm
Updated Saturday, 20th July 2019, 5:54 pm
Preston striker Sean Maguire challenges for the ball against Southampton at Deepdale

Billy Bodin found the net for the Lilywhites with a fine finish in the 18th minute to equalise Danny Ings' early opener for the Saints which resulted from goalkeeper Connor Ripley's mistake.

Ings restored the visitors' lead on the stroke of half-time, heading home a Ryan Bertrand cross.

Substitute Jake Vokins netted Southampton's third goal in the 83rd minute.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It was North End's first defeat of pre-season after wins over Bamber Bridge, Cork City, AFC Fylde and Chorley.

Alex Neil limited himself to only three substitutions as he looked to give the sharpness levels a push with the start of the season now only a fortnight away.

Southampton's movement and use of the ball was impressive at times, certainly a good test for North End's chasing legs even if the result wasn't the one they desired.

PNE started in a 4-2-3-1 formation - Bodin operating on the right-wing and Tom Barkhuizen on the left, with Alan Browne as the No.10 behind Sean Maguire.

Preston's Billy Bodin

Ben Pearson was in the holding midfield role with Daniel Johnson just ahead of him in the centre.

The early pressure came from the visitors, a lot of their play coming down the right through wing-back Cedric and frontman Michael Obafemi.

Ripley saved Bertrand's fourth minute shot with his legs, then Shane Long sent a header straight at the PNE goalkeeper.

North End's first chance came in the 10th minute as Jan Bednarek's header back to his keeper fell short of his target.

PNE winger Tom Barkhuizen goes past a Southampton defender

Barkhuizen stole in, managed to take it wide of the keeper but from a narrow angle could only bundle a shot wide of the near post.

Within a minute Southampton took the lead, one gifted to them by Ripley.

Jordan Storey played a back pass to the keeper who succeeded in kicking his clearance against the legs of Ings who was closing down, the ball looping over Ripley and into the net.

PNE levelled in impressive fashion within seven minutes, Tom Clarke's throw-in on the right finding Bodin to the side of the box.

Preston goalkeeper Connor Ripley punches clear

Bodin spun inside between two Southampton defenders, stepped across another in the box and then whipped a left-foot curling finish with some pace into the far corner.

At the other end, a Cedric cross found Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg at the far post but he headed straight at Ripley.

Just past the half hour, Obafemi ran into the box to collect an Ings, his low shot saved by Ripley's outstretched right boot.

Southampton regained the lead a minute before half-time, Ings nodding in at the near post from Bertrand's left-wing cross.

The opening 20 minutes of the second half were non-eventful, the contest developing into something of a midfield battle with little in the final third.

A header from Browne looped into the gloves on keeper Angus Gunn, while at the other end a clearance from Clarke struck Stuart Armstrong and travelled goalwards - forcing Ripley to save.

North End counter-attacked well in the 69th minute with Sean Maguire and Daniel Johnson linking-up well to play in Barkhuizen who put his shot too close to Gunn who saved easily.

The Saints wrapped-up their victory with seven minutes remaining, substitute Nathan Redmond the creator with a tricky run which took him to the byline to the left of goal.

His cut back found Armstrong whose shot was blocked, the ball rolling to Vokins who took a touch before rolling the ball home from six yards.

PNE: Ripley, Clarke (Rafferty 78), Storey, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Johnson, Bodin (Burke 78), Browne, Barkhuizen (Moult 72), Maguire. Subs (not used): Earl, Harrop, Gallagher, Ginnelly, Ledson, Stockley, Bauer, Huntington, Potts, Rudd.

Southampton: Gunn, Bednarek Klarer 72), Stephens, Hoedt, Cedric, Smallbone, Hojbjerg (Sims 61), Bertrand (Vokins 72), Obafemi (Redmond 61), Long (Reed 61), Ings (Armstrong 61). Subs (not used): O'Connor, Johnson, Lewis.

Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)

Attendance: 4,767 (385 away)