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Match Report

 

Posted Thu 20 Dec 12 at 12:49 PM

PNE 1 Walsall 3

A penalty decision just a quarter of hour into the game was the turning point as North End lost their first home game of 2013.

Goals from Will Grigg, Paul Downing and James Baxendale were enough to give the Saddlers all three points at Deepdale.

North End came in two behind at the interval with a stonewall penalty decision the turning point in the game, Wroe clearly denied a goalscoring opportunity on 16 minutes, and the visitors were ahead less than two minutes later when Fabian Brandy poked home from close range.

Paul Downing then headed in a second for the Saddlers seven minutes before the break, giving the Lilywhites a mountain to climb in the second half.

That deficit increased further on 56 minutes when James Baxendale arrowed an effort into the top left hand corner from 18 yards.

Bailey Wright headed home his second goal for the Club in the three minutes of injury time, but this was mere consolation for the Whites.

The game had started brightly for the Lilywhites and Walsall chances wewre at a premium, Stuckmann only having to tip over from visiting skipper Andy Butler on five minutes.

Nicky Wroe had an excellent chance on 11 minutes, a double flick on by Stuart Beavon and home debutant Joe Garner sent Wroe, who had burst from the midfield, into the box. He held off the defender and fired left foot effort from very tight angle just past the left hand post.

More good play by Graham Westley’s men two minutes later saw Wroe feed Monakana on the right, he put over a deep cross, and Garner was up and back, but headed wide right.

The controversial moment of the game came on 16 minutes when North End were denied a blatant stonewall penalty as Beavon did brilliantly down the right, beating Butler and then running in and driving across the box before Nicky Wroe was smashed to the ground as he was about to slot home – a penalty and red card should have been given!

But instead it was play on and Walsall, completely against the run of play had the lead 90 seconds later. Will Grigg broke down the left, out-paced Luke Foster, got to the byline and pulled it back to the edge of the six yard box where Febian Brandy scooped home from close range.

On 24 minutes Nicky Wroe was 25 yards out and hit a low drive heading for bottom left corner, on loan keeper Ian McLoughlin tipped round post for a corner, that Garner headed from Beavon’s cross, deflected for another corner. This time it found its way to Lee Holmes on the edge of the ‘D’, but his shot was superbly blocked by Butler to deny an equaliser.

The visitors went two goals to the good seven minutes before the interval. A ball in from the right after a free kick had originally been cleared four Paul Downing. He had a free header that seemed to un-sight Thorsten Stuckmann and go through him into the net, the cross by Adam Chambers.

Walsall started the second half brightly, Grigg denied by Stuckmann and the visitors feeling they had a strong shout for a penalty of their own for handball, just two minutes into the half.

North End had the ball in the net on 50 minutes as Beavon converted from 12 yards out, but the match official adjudged him to have fouled his defender before making a smart finish into the bottom corner from a right hand channel.

But the visitors extended their lead on 56 minutes, when James Baxendale foired home accurately into the top left hand corner from the edge of the box when Grigg had capitalised on a mistake at the back and held the ball up, laying it off for the Saddlers midfielder.

Lee Holmes was denied by a fabulous save by McLoughlin two minutes later, the winger curling a 20 yard free kick towards the top left hand corner, only for the MK Dons loanee to somehow get a hand to it and tip the ball onto the roof of the net.

On 67 minutes Joe Garner glanced a header from Stuart Beavon's left wing corner just past the right hand post as the Lilywhites looked to get back into the game.

Substitute Graham Cummins headed John Welsh's deep right wing cross just over the cross bar with five minutes left.

In the final minute sub Joel Byrom fired wide after some good build up play by another change, Will Hayhurst.

In the three minutes of injury time Bailey Wright nodded home from close range to give the Lilywhites a consolation, but the visitors headed back down the M6 with the points.

PNE Line-Up: Stuckmann, King (Cummins, 72), Buchanan, Welsh, Foster, Wright, Monakana (Byrom, 65), Wroe, Garner, Beavon, Holmes (Hayhurst, 80). Subs not used: Robertson, Procter, Beardsley, Taylor.

Walsall Line-Up: McLoughlin, Butler, A Chambers, Grigg (Bowerman, 87), Paterson, Brandy (J Chamber, 87), Purkiss, Benning, Downing, Baxendale (Hemmings, 79), Mantom. Subs not used: Grof, Taundry, Featherstone, Taylor.

Referee: Mr Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 9,823 (539 away fans)

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