PNE RETRO: Preston take honours from Victory

Adam Nowland in action at Victory Park
Adam Nowland in action at Victory Park
  • Chorley 0 - Preston 2
  • July 23, 2007
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A full-blooded encounter in this pre-season friendly saw PNE retain the Jack Kirkland Trophy.

Preston left it late at Victory Park but eventually got the better of hosts Chorley.

Minutes silence at Victory Park

Minutes silence at Victory Park

Goals in the last 18 minutes from Neil Mellor and new boy Barry Nicholson gave North End their win and saw them retain the Jack Kirkland Trophy for a sixth year.

It wasn’t a polished performance from Alan Irvine’s side, but that’s no real surprise considering tactics have taken a back seat to fitness work so far in the pre-season programme.

And they also found the Magpies to be resilient opponents, Chorley boss Tony Hesketh no doubt taking plenty of positives ahead of their UniBond League campaign.

But in the end two sharp pieces of finishing proved the difference, Mellor carrying on from where he left off last season, Nicholson hopefully showing a sign of things to come following his Bosman switch from Aberdeen.

With Nicholson being the only summer signing to date, the North End side on show had a familiar ring about it.

The one slight difference was Joe Anyinsah playing at right-back instead of his usual winger’s role, but it was a job he did admirably.

And he certainly caught his manager’s eye despite being plunged into the role at short notice with Billy Jones needed in the centre of defence.

Irvine said: “Joe did well even though he is not a right-back.

“I said to him before the game that I was having to shuffle things around a little bit.

“In Austria on Saturday Joe played on the right-wing and Chris Sedgwick had to go over on the left-wing.

“So I wanted to give Chris his chance on the right against Chorley and I needed someone to slot in at right-back.

“I told Joe to see it as an attacking role, to get himself forward often which he did, and I think he quite enjoyed it.”

Much of North End’s attacking play came down the right in the first half as the visitors created a number of chances.

The best fell to Mellor in the 22nd minute when Ormerod went round keeper Chris Thompson and laid the ball back to his strike partner.

Mellor’s first effort was blocked on its way to goal by a defender, with his follow-up effort deflected over the bar.

A solo run by Anyinsah carried him into the box only for him to be halted in his tracks by a great last ditch tackle from right-back Rob Henry.

The second-half saw a string of Chorley substitutions while Irvine stuck with the same outfield players throughout, part of his strategy to have North End in tip-top shape for the big kick-off at Ipswich.

Two of the four host players to last the full game were central defenders James Mullineux and Chris Smalley, who made sure Mellor and Ormerod had to work all night.

And credit to them that it wasn’t until the 72nd minute that North End broke the deadlock, Ormerod seizing on hesitancy by Martin Clark 20 yards out.

His challenge saw the ball run into the path of Mellor who advanced into the box and struck a rising shot into the roof of the net.

The lead was doubled in the 80th minute, a cheeky step-over by Ormerod setting up Nicholson to fire home a low shot from just inside the box.