Tom Sandells' verdict: Morecambe 2-4 Preston North End - PNE win in Carabao Cup classic
Preston North End made it two wins from two on Tuesday as they beat Morecambe 4-2 in the Carabao Cup second round.
It was a sensational game of football, it will likely go down as a night to remember for every fan and player at the Mizuma Stadium that evening.
It was back and forth, end to end, unpredictable and there was a fantastic atmosphere. A capacity North End following of 1,774 were up for the game, fresh of the back on their side’s first win of the season, and wanted to make the game to be a spectacle - which it was.
Although it is a cliche, it was a classic cup tie.
Emil Riis was at the double with Ryan Ledson and Sepp van den Berg also finding the net for the Lilywhites.
Anthony O’Connor and Cole Stockton scored for the home side.
Both sides were forward thinking, there were strong tackles flying in and both sets of fans were getting behind their side. When you step back and look at the game, there were six goals, four yellow cards, a disallowed goal and even two referees – football was well and truly back.
PNE managed the game excellently, in the end. They allowed the Shrimps back into it with a goal late in the first half that gave them much more to play for in the second 45. Stockton’s goal however ran Ledson’s close for goal of the night, which was a tough contest.
After a slow start to the season it now feels like the cogs are turning again with Frankie McAvoy’s men.
Like their win over Peterborough, there was not a single player who didn’t step up to the plate.
Ledson and Riis were the standouts. The Dane scored two in the first half to send PNE on their way and looked dangerous every time he got on the ball.
Midfield star Ledson was in a deeper role, controlling possession and smashing home a screamer for good measure.
Riis was released down the right wing by a well-placed pass from Daniel Johnson after just seven minutes, with the 23-year-old calmly dispatching the ball into the far corner.
North End looked good in possession and Potts picked up a loose ball from Riis and beat two men before shooting low from the edge of the area which was easily saved, 11 minutes into the contest.
Then came a collector’s item, a change of referee. The man in the middle was originally James Oldham but he came to the touchline injured and in stepped Paul Graham to take the whistle after 29 minutes.
He was quickly thrust into the spotlight four minutes later as Riis once again had the ball in the net.
Sepp van den Berg’s clearance turned into an inviting through ball for the forward who saw Andersson and his defender collide as he challenged for the ball.
The Shrimps keeper spilled the ball into Riis’ path who tapped into an empty net .
The game briefly settled down but Morecambe would have something from the half, scoring four minutes into stoppage time.
Andrew Hughes was booked for a slide tackle in corner and the Shrimps took full advantage from the free kick, crossing to the far post where O’Connor bundled the ball home.
The Shrimps levelled through Stockton just after the hour mark. Morecambe’s No.9 brilliantly collected a well struck ball into his feet running at the PNE goal before dispatching the ball into the bottom corner.
Before anyone could catch their breath North End were back in the lead, Ledson almost breaking the net just four minutes later.
The ball played into the path of the midfielder on the edge of the box who let fly a rasping effort into the top-left corner.
A fine flowing move saw Maguire release Cunningham down the left, his low cross was deflected by a desperate defender and Van den Berg was in position to turn the ball into the net to restore the Lilywhites’ two-goal lead.
Morecambe nearly scored another stoppage-time goal, finding the back of the net a minute past the 90 but the assistant referee had his flag up and it remained 4-2.
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