Preston North End's last visit to Bamber Bridge for pre-season opener three years ago

Preston North End last made the short trip to Bamber Bridge in 2019, for their usual pre-season opener.

That was of course before Covid 19 hit, and the weather. Last season’s fixture was rained off, remarkably, despite it actually being quite warm and sunny at the time. A monumental downpour rendered the pitch unplayable and instead the game was played at North End’s Euxton training ground.

This weekend PNE will once again open their footballing calender with the game at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium but three years ago they ran out 2-0 winners. First half goals from Tom Clarke and Louis Moult gave Alex Neil’s men the win.

The Lilywhites took a 10th minute lead after Graham Burke won a corner on the left. Josh 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.

PNE fans watch on from the gardens backing onto the pitch

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.

The woodwork denied North End, Burke's shot coming back off the post after Tom 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.

PNE manager Alex Neil sits alongside director Peter Ridsdale, other PNE staff and players during the game

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

It was all change for the second half as PNE fielded a different XI, but they could find no more goals, despite both sides testing both ‘keepers.

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

In the 81st minute, Paul Huntington's long ball was headed on to release Josh Ginnelly, he held off a challenge to get a shot away but Danny Roccia was equal to it.

Preston North End's Tom Clarke scores the opening goal.
Preston North End's Louis Moult scores his team's second goal.