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PNE 1 AEK Athens 0

29 July 2012

A late goal from Jeffrey Monakana gave the Lilywhites a deserved victory over Greek Super League side at Deepdale

The young winger, a second half substitute, drove down the right with two minutes to go, before reaching the byline and drilling the ball across, it taking a ricochet past the AEK keeper into the bottom right hand corner.

It was no more than Graham Westley's side deserved after a high tempo performance against a side that has regularly qualified for the Champions League and Europa League over the past few seasons.

The manager selected David Buchanan on the left side of midfield, in front of Scott Laird, with Lee Holmes in a floating role behind the front man of Chris Beardsley.

It was a bright opening from the Lilywhites, clad in their new Magners sponsored home kit, with the left sided pair of Buchanan and Laird linking up well.

The first test of visiting keeper Konstantopoulos came as Chris Beardsley hit a low shot from a left hand channel, but it was straight at the former Hartlepool stopper.

It was a bright but windy Deepdale, the air filled with the noise being made by a small but vociferous following for the Greek side, who created a real atmosphere at Deepdale.

 Buchanan also tested out the keeper after some good link up play with the lively Lee Holmes, but again the shot was straight at the AEK stopper.

The game really came to life, however, after the interval, Thorsten Stuckmann was called into action for the first time just two minutes into the half, getting down well to tip a 30-yard effort from Fountas just round the post for a corner.

The same was repeated a minute later, but this time at the other end of the field, Nicky Wroe shooting low and forcing the Athens custodian to make a fine save. This was followed By Lee Holmes showing more skill to turn his man before shooting narrowly wide from 20 yards.

Great play in the 56th minute saw Laird whip over a ball from the left, the ball headed down by Beardsley to Holmes on the egde of the six yard box, but the former Derby man couldn’t make a strong enough connection and an AEK defender managed to get a vital block in and shepherd the ball back to Konstantopoulos.

A plenthora of changes just before the hour mark which included trialist Sam Winnall, from Wolves, replacing David Buchanan in attack – Lee Holmes moving out to the left hand – which meant a break in the fluency of the play and also a change in goal with another trialist Jose Moreira replacing Stuckmann.

The new keeper was needed to show his abilities shortly after as AEK sub Enias Kalogeris managed to get time and space 30 yards out to shoot left footed, but Moreiera was at full stretch and got strong hand to the ball to put it out for a corner.

Another Athens substitute Thomas Tsitas went even closer on 69 minutes, smashing the bar, with Moreira tipping the ball against the woodwork after the powerful left foot had come in from 12 yards out.

Trialist Winnall saw a shot blocked and then flashed another just wide with ten minutes to go, with Graham Westley’s side looking strong and then Akpo Sodje tested the new AEK keeper after Mousinho’s powerful run and cross from the right.

But the best was saved until last as Monakana took the ball down the right, getting to the byline, driving goalwards and hitting a low shot that took a deflection off an AEK defender and squirmed past the keeper into the bottom right hand corner.

PNE Line-Up: Stuckmann (Moreira, 63), Keane, Laird, Mousinho, Huntington, Cansdell-Sherriff, Wroe (Wright, 73), King (Monakana, 46), Holmes (Hayhurst, 84), Beardsley (Sodje, 77), Buchanan (Winnall, 60). Subs Not Used: Robertson, Cummins, Holroyd, Hayhurst.

Attendance: 2,289

Referee: Mr Graham Salisbury

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