Wigan Athletic 0-0 Preston North End - Match report as Ched Evans sees red in Championship opener
Preston North End started off their 2022/23 Championship season with a point on the road as they drew 0-0 with Wigan Athletic.
North End had the chances to win it despite not being at their best, but a red card for Ched Evans 10 minutes from time left them hanging on.
PNE boss Lowe handed out three full debuts at the DW, starting with Freddie Woodman in goal, Robbie Brady at left wing back and Troy Parrott started as one of the two strikers less then a week after joining on loan from Tottenham Hotspur.
Liam Lindsay's inclusion ahead of Patrick Bauer was the only other notable point in the XI, with the German preferred in the past.
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The home side had the first chance of the game, four minutes in, with former North End loanee Will Keane meeting Latics skipper Tendayi Darikwa's low cross from the right but firing wide of the near post.
The opening quarter of an hour was a battle for control as both sides looked to find their feet in the new campaign and settle any nerves, but it was Wigan that came out of it the better.
The pressure began to build for the Latics as corner after corner was just about repelled by PNE, follow up volleys from both James McClean and Josh Magennis not finding their intended targets though well hit approaching the half hour mark.
Headers from Emil Riis after 31 minutes and Liam Lindsay two minutes later were the only flashes at goal for North End, though neither troubled Ben Amos in the Wigan goal.
Then came a real chance for Riis with 36 minutes played, a ball over the top from Brady, and a fortuitous slip from Jack Whatmough who was replaced after the chance through injury, allowed the Dane to run in at goal. He got just inside the box before dragging his effort on his left foot across goal and wide of the mark.
And PNE should have taken the lead before the break, in the first minute of stoppage time, as Riis played an excellent first time ball to release his striker partner Parrot who went one on one with the 'keeper. The Irishman saw his effort saved and Riis on the follow up could not convert, thanks to another fine save from the home stopper.
There was even time before the interval for another PNE chance, as Andrew Hughes' header from a corner was deflected off one of his own players and onto the crossbar before going behind.
Despite a late flurry of clear cut chances, it was Wigan back on top in the second half and Lindsay threw himself in the way of a Jason Kerr header 52 minutes in.
The battle continued for the following 15 minutes with netiher side carving out a real chance, but no quarter being given.
After 64 minutes Keane turned on the ball at the edge of the PNE box but his shot was straight at Woodman and lacking the power required to beat then new no.1.
PNE's best chance of the second half came 19 minutes from time as Parrott got in behind the defence on the left side of the box to drive low across the face of goal but his strike beat the far post.
Crosses continued to trouble Lowe's side and McClean's cross from the right ricocheted into the path of Tom Naylor who dug a shot out but again, it could not trouble Woodman.
Then came a turning point in the game, as Ched Evans as sent off. The Welshman, who had been on the pitch for eight minutes at this point, sliding in late on defender Curtis Tilt as he went to ground. Evans collided with his chest and it was a simple decision for referee Bobby Madley.
The home side could not capitalise on their extra man advantage however and as throughout, despite being the better side on the day, they could not muster up a clear cut chance.
A shot from the edge of the box from Latics' Darikwa was blocked by Ben Whiteman who threw himself in front of the effort inside of stoppage time but that was as close as the homeside would come to breaking the deadlock whilst a man up.
PNE Starting XI: Woodman, Storey, Lindsay, Hughes, Potts (Woodburn, 66'), Whiteman, Johnson (Ledson, 85'), Browne, Brady (Fernandez, 72'), Riis, Parrott (Evans, 72').PNE subs not used: Cornell, Bauer, McCann.Wigan Starting XI: Amos, Darikwa, Whatmough (Kerr, 38'), Tilt, Bennett (Pearce, 90'), Power, Naylor, Lang, Keane, McClean, Magennis.Wigan subs not used: Jones, Shinnie, McGrath, Aasgaard, Humphrys.
Attendance: 15,429 (4,729 away)