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Kick off 13:00 (UK)

2-3
26 April 2022 Venue Attendance

Kick off 13:00 (UK)

Fleetwood Town
2 - 3
Preston North End
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Match Reports

Match Report: Fleetwood Town 2 PNE Reserves 3

26 April 2022

Preston North End reserves were crowned Central League champions with a 3-2 victory over Fleetwood Town.

The hosts, who were league leaders at kick-off, got themselves an early lead through Danny Edwards, before Harry Nevin drew level just before half-time.

Mikey O'Neill then scored a double in the second half to put North End in control and, despite a late scare after an injury-time goal from Edwards, PNE held on for the victory.

It was mainly a side made up of U19s, as well as Tom Barkhuizen stepping up his return from injury, and PNE knew only three points would seal the league title, with any other result meaning Fleetwood would finish top.

It was a frantic start to the game which included a few early scares for North End and the hosts did manage to take the lead on eight minutes, with Edwards firing low across the face of goal and into the far corner.

North End came close to levelling on 16 minutes, as Joe Rodwell-Grant saw his shot saved and as the ball fell to Barkhuizen he couldn’t quite direct his effort on target from close range.

PNE were growing into the game and they got their reward just before the break, with an Aaron Bennett corner not being dealt with by the goalkeeper, and Nevin slammed home from six yards to draw level going into half-time.

There was a close call for PNE inside the opening few minutes of the second half, as Edwards looked like he had an open goal to put his side back in front, but a last-ditch clearance denied him.

On 54 minutes, Seary was found with a fantastic ball over the top and the referee pointed to the spot after the wing back was brought down in the area by Drew Baker, and after O’Neill’s penalty was saved, he rushed to the goalline to get the rebound and poke home.

O’Neill then got his second almost ten minutes later, as another long ball from Dana Amaral found Seary, who in turn chipped the ball into O’Neill, and the attacking midfielder emphatically slammed home first time.

PNE could have had more before the final whistle, with the likes of Aaron Bennett and Ethan Walker having chances to kill the game off, but it was the hosts who got a late goal through Edwards as he tapped home from close range.

He then so nearly drew level in the fifth minute of stoppage time, but James Pradic somehow got a fingertip to it to earn the victory which saw North End hold on to their lead to become Central League champions.

PNE line-up: Pradic; Olosunde, Nevin (Mawene, 84), Best (Slater, 73); Seary, Amaral, Bennett, O’Neill, Coulton; Rodwell-Grant, Barkhuizen (Walker, 45 (Holland-Wilkinson, 86)). Subs not used: Lombard.

Fleetwood Town line-up: Donaghy; Thiam, Hoyle, Baker, Trialist A; Thompson, White (Khela, 76), Raffie; Edwards, Trialist B, Edwards. Subs not used: Rees, Smith, Morrison, Leggett.

Referee: Mr S Robinson.

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