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Match Reports

PNE v Wolves

3 August 2013

PNE 0 Wolves 0

The opening game of the season ended in a hard-fought goalless draw at Deepdale, in one of the Football League's 125th celebratory fixtures.

The game got going to the backdrop of a crackling atmosphere; both sets of fans cranking up the volume as the season got underway in front of almost 16,000 at Deepdale.

And it was almost a stunning start for the Lilywhites with Kevin Davies almost on the end of John Welsh’s corner, the first of a brace in a spell of early pressure from North End.

The visitors first opportunity came ten minutes later as Declan Rudd was required to make a fine save with his legs from Wolves dangerman Bakary Sako, the winger collecting the ball ten yards out after it ricocheted like a pinball around the box.

After blistering start to the game it became tentative with both sides trying to get a grip. Just after the mid-point a foul on Kevin Davies by Richard Stearman 30 yards out gave Lee Holmes a chance to lines-up the ball; He fired left footed goalwards and it was heading to the top right, but there wasn’t enough power and Ikeme in the Wolves goal claimed.

Eight minutes before the break North End skipper John Welsh was on hand to head Leigh Griffiths’ acrobatic effort off the line after Declan Rudd punched away Sam Ricketts’ corner.

Just before the interval North End had a large scream for a penalty after what appeared to be a foul on Nicky Wroe as PNE burst into the box with good play on left by Holmes and Welsh, however, eventually it was a free kick to Wolves!

Within 45 seconds of the second half a brilliant run forward from Tom Clarke sent Kevin Davies in a 50/50 with keeper Carl Ikeme, the two reached the ball together and the ball looped over the Wolves keeper, but agonisingly wide of the right hand Town End post.

The visitors tried a speculative effort ten minutes into the half that brought a brace of corners; but it was from a North End corner that brought the best chance of the opening stages of the second half, won by Chris Humphrey on 64 minutes. Holmes' cross was met by Clarke, but it was straight into the midriff of one of his own team-mates!

Will Hayhurst's introduction brought another dimension to North End and his ball across the goal with ten minutes left was inches away from being poked home by Kevin Davies. And the young Irishman felt he could and should have had a penalty with three minutes left, bundled over as went for John Welsh's cross.

A frenetic last five minutes plus the same amount of injury time, including the re-introduction of Iain Hume, saw both sides go for the win, but neither could grab the vital goal.

PNE line-up: Rudd, Clarke, Buchanan, Welsh, Huntington, Wright, Humphrey (Hayhurst, 78), Keane, Davies, Wroe (Hume, 88), Holmes. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Laird, Garner, Mousinho, King.

Wolves line-up: Ikeme, Doherty, Edwards (Cassidy, 64), Stearman (Elokobi, 32 (Foley, 70)), Batth, Davis, Griffiths, Sako, Evans, Sigurdarson, Ricketts. Subs not used: Hennessey, Price, AcAlinden, Ismail.

Attendance: 16,593 (4,968 away)

Referee: Mr A Haines

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