Words: Alex Birch; Pictures: Stefan Willoughby
THE Magpies opened their pre-season home schedule with an impressive display against Championship side Preston North End, despite falling to a 2-0 defeat.
The Magpies grew in confidence as the first half went on, creating the best two chances of the half. Josh O’Keefe struck the post with a scissored volley from 25 yards, before Elliot Newby clipped the same post after weaving his way into the box from the right wing.
A myriad of changes throughout the second half stunted the flow of the game. Damien Johnson hit the post for the visitors, just before North End made 10 changes. Almost as soon as those changes took the field the visitors were ahead, and didn’t look like relinquishing that lead thereafter; Alan Browne curling home from the edge of the box.
Graham Burke doubled the advantage with 11 minutes left after outrunning the home defence to coolly beat Eccles, adding gloss to a close encounter.
Magpies: Eccles; Trialist (Brickell, 75′), Blakeman (Hooper, 61′), Teague (c) (Anson, 69′), Trialist (Agbozo, 75′), Meppen-Walters (Leather, 10′, Trialist (21), 46′)), Trialist (Trialist (19), 69′), O’Keefe (Cottrell, 54′), Carver (Trialist (17), 61′), Holroyd (A.Newby, 46′), E.Newby (Trialist (20) 69′).
PNE (first 60 mins): Rudd; Storey, Rafferty, Earl, Huntington (c), Johnson, Barkhuizen, Harrop, Moult, Stockley, Ledson.
PNE (final 30 mins): Rudd; Pearson, Davies, Browne, Gallagher, Hughes, Ginnelly, Bauer, Maguire, Bodin, Burke.
HT 0-0 / FT 0-2
Goals: Browne (61′), Burke (79′)
Referee: Leigh Doughty
Assistants: Joe Simpson & Paul Graham
Fourth official: Dave McNamara
Coming up: Another EFL Championship side makes the short journey to Victory Park this Saturday, albeit Wigan Athletic’s under-23s. Admission is fixed across our four home friendlies: £7.50 adults, £5 12-16s & FREE season ticket holders & under-12s
*The Magpies pre-season is sponsored by MDC Autos