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Kick off 10:30 (UK)

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18 September 2021 Venue Unavailable Attendance

Kick off 10:30 (UK)

Preston North End U18
3 - 1
Accrington Stanley U18
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Match Reports

Match Report: PNE U19 3 Accrington Stanley U19 1

19 September 2021

Preston North End U19s returned to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Accrington Stanley U19s at Springfields.

Dana Amaral got the Lilywhites off to a flyer, scoring in the first minute before the visitors equalised on the half hour mark.

However, Nick Harrison’s side took charge in the second half and goals from Rio Pemberton and Jacob Slater secured them a valuable three points.

The boys in white showed their resilience after their last-minute heartbreak at Carlisle the previous weekend.

Harrison made two changes to the side that started the 2-1 defeat with Harry Nevin and Amaral replacing Finlay Wallbank and Rio Pemberton.

It was Amaral who fired PNE ahead within the first 60 seconds, as the Accrington defence was caught off-guard, the central midfielder raced through and calmly slotted his shot underneath the opposition goalkeeper.

The hosts continued their explosive start as Slater met a long ball over the top with a strong volley which was pushed behind for a corner and soon afterwards, midfielder Mikey O’Neill had a powerful shot from the edge of the area that cannoned back off the crossbar.

Having dominated the opening quarter of the match, the team endured a frustrating spell and Stanley were allowed a way back into the match.

The visitors netted their equaliser on 30 minutes as the Lilywhites were caught out by a quick free-kick on the half-way line and the Accrington player finished off a breakaway attack with a composed finish from just inside the area.

North End struggled to rediscover their groove after conceding as Accrington continued to look dangerous as their right winger narrowly missed the target with a strike across goal, four minutes before half-time.

The second half began with a change as Rio Pemberton replaced goalscorer Amaral, who had received a booking just before the interval.

PNE looked a much-improved side after the break and Slater had another fierce strike saved by the goalkeeper, following some great work from centre forward Finlay Cross-Adair.

Minutes later, the hosts retook the lead after a driving run and incisive pass from O’Neill allowed Cross-Adair in on goal, his shot hit the post and bounced out for substitute Pemberton to convert.

With North End leading 2-1, the match settled down and became a more even encounter with few chances for either side, although Cross-Adair did come close again on 76 minutes with a low shot that was saved by the goalkeeper, signalling an increase in intensity from the PNE players.

Moments later, Slater was unable to convert an opportunity for PNE, sending Kian Taylor’s pinpoint cross over the bar with a half-volley.

However, just two minutes later, the left midfielder finally scored the goal his performance warranted as he capitalised on a wayward pass from the Accrington 'keeper and rolled the ball into the empty net to make it 3-1 and earn his side a two-goal cushion.

The contest was not yet over and North End shot-stopper Declyn Duggan showed he was still alert with a terrific reflex save from the Accrington striker’s powerful header just one minute later.

On the 86th minute, a clever piece of skill from Slater saw his side awarded a penalty but unfortunately for Cross-Adair, his spot-kick was saved, rounding off a frustrating day for the forward who had put in an impressive display that included everything but a goal.

The match ended soon afterwards and PNE had wrapped up a relatively comfortable victory in the end.

Speaking to PNE.Com after the game, manager Nick Harrison said: “It was obviously a really good result, but more importantly the performance overall, apart from a couple of patches, was excellent. I was really happy with the start and thought we were on the front foot.

"We passed the ball really well and created a number of chances. It’s important to get the first goal, no matter what time it was, and I thought we dominated for the next 10, 15 minutes.”

The manager was also proud of how the young Lilywhites responded after Accrington’s leveller.

“The opposition are going to try hard to get back in it and they did and although they scored, we weathered the storm well which took us to half-time.”

Harrison believed the quality of the substitutes available to him helped tilt the game in his side’s favour.

“We’ve got a strong bench,” he continued, “I thought the changes did work really well and we came out again on the front foot and dominated the game, so I’m really pleased with how well we started and how we finished the game. We’ve got good players on the bench. They’re probably itching to be involved more and they will be as the season goes on.”

PNE Line-Up: Duggan, Taylor, Coulton, Leigh, Mfuni, Nevin, Slater, Amaral (Pemberton 45'), Cross-Adair, O'Neill, Lewis (Nelson 77')

Unused subs: Pradic, Best, Eccleston

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