Preston North End Retro: Garner gives PNE the win over Hearts in 2015 friendly

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Preston North End are readying themselves to face Hearts this evening and were victorious the last time the two sides met in 2015.

North End were preparing for their first season back in the Championship having won the League One play-offs under Simon Grayson the season before and a looping header from star man Joe Garner was the difference at Deepdale.

North End's forward line was that of Garner and Jermaine Beckford, which had served them so well in the third tier, with Will Keane in a supporting role.

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Garner and Beckford linked up early on but the latter could only direct his effort over the crossbar.Sean McKirdy came to Hearts' rescue after 12 minutes, Paul Huntington rising highest to head at goal from Daniel Johnson's corner only to see it cleared away.

PNE players celebrating Joe Garner's goal.PNE players celebrating Joe Garner's goal.
PNE players celebrating Joe Garner's goal.

The visitors' first chance came through Osman Sow but he dragged his shot wide after 15 minutes.Beckford had a penalty appeal turned away after being felled in the area, the Jamaican cut inside for the right side of the box before being brought down by Blazej Augustyn but claims were turned away on the half hour mark.Just two minutes later the Scots went close, with Callum Paterson heading over the bar unchallenged from a corner.

Sow again caused PNE problems and his shot from the right side of the box flashed across the face of goal and just past Jamie Jones' post after 41 minutes.Hearts had the first chance of the second half through Paterson again but North End came back fighting.

Kean was the first to have a go having been released by Garner but he could not beat Neil Alexander, who stretched and got a hand to the strike from the left side of the box.

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Garner then had a go himself, he got away down the right channel before firing at Alexander who again proved to be the difference. He was thwarted again shortly after as Paul Gallagher's free kick found the striker but his header was saved.

Will Keane up against the Hearts defence.Will Keane up against the Hearts defence.
Will Keane up against the Hearts defence.

Alexander proved to be human after all as it was his mistake that led to the only goal of the game. His sliced clearance looped up into the air for Garner to get on the end of as he headed towards goal. The scrambling goalkeeper was able to get a hand to it but could only claw it out after it had crossed the line.A second nearly came from an unlikely source as John Welsh volleyed towards goal at the far post but couldn't direct it on target.

Grayson made a host of changes to his team following that chance with Gallagher, Keane, Beckford, Bailey Wright and Welsh making way for Alan Browne, Andy Little, Ben Davies, Josh Brownhill and Jordan Hugill.Those changes were soon followed by the introduction of Jack Ryan and Nick Anderton for Garner and Calum Woods respectively.

As those changes impacted the game, there was still just enough time for one more chance that fell the way of Northern Irishman Little. He looked to bend an effort into the top right corner but could not quite execute it correctly.