PNE 2 Swindon Town 1
A goal from Iain Hume, his first since April 2012 for PNE, and an own goal from Jay McEveley gave North End their fifth win in a row with a 2-1 triumph over Swindon Town.
The opening goal came after just 11 minutes, with Hume nodding home from close range after Wes Foderingham could only parry a shot from Kevin Davies.
The second was just two and a half minutes into the second period as Jay McEveley put into his own net in comical fashion.
Dany N’Guessan pulled a consolation goal back with four minutes of normal time remaining, curling a right footed effort from the left hand corner of the box into the right hand corner, but it was the Lilywhites who triumphed.
North End dictated the early play, with Chris Humphrey down the right hand side a constant thorn in the visitors’ side, his full back, former PNE loanee Jay McEveley booked as early as the eighth minute for pulling back the Jamaican.
However it was through the middle that the opening goal came. Some great play by skipper Keith Keane in the midfield as he cut out a pass and played the ball into Beavon down the left; the No.10 raced forward and played a perfectly weighted ball into Kevin Davies, who collected and smashed goalwards. Wes Foderingham could only palm the ball up in the air and Iain Hume was there to head home from close range, to the delight to the home crowd.
It was almost 2-0 on the quarter of an hour mark when Humphrey raced down the right and crossed early into the feet of Kevin Davies, but this time Nathan Thompson did exceptionally well, injuring himself in the process to get a foot in as Davies was about to pull the trigger – the defender later one of two first half changes forced on Robins boss Mark Cooper, Nathan Byrne, just back from suspension, also injured during the opening period.
Foderingham, on his first return to Deepdale since his ignominious substitution by Paolo Di Canio in the Guild game 12 months previous, made a great save on the half hour mark; denying Davies after Humphrey again tormented McEverley down the right. The wing man drove the ball into the six yard box; but a point blank save by the young Robins keeper kept the deficit at one.
North End continued to dominate possession and chances and on 36 minutes a free kick on half way from Joel Byrom was met by Davies who headed across goal and Bailey Wright poked a foot at it, but it just narrowly wide of the right hand post. North End from the goal kick won it and Beavon went down the right and then cut in and drives a shot just wide of the right hand post.
The period of pressure was not over though and Humphrey again collected the ball from the Swindon goal kick and put over a deep cross. There was a brilliant header from Scott Laird back to Beavon on the penalty shot, the ball sat up, but the front man fired over the bar.
It was 2-0 straight after the break in the most bizarre circumstances just three minutes after the break. A drilled ball in from the left by Scott Laird ricocheted off the boot of Grant Hall and fell comfortably to Jay McEveley. The former PNE full back looked to lay a simple lay back, but it bounced up and over beleaguered stopper Foderingham and into the net, much to the delight of the North End faithful.
On 55 minutes North End went close four times in succession to making it three; Beavon, Humphrey, Davies and Hume all denied by the goalkeeper or defenders throwing themselves at balls as the pressure rained down on the visitors’ defence.
The visitors brought the best out of Declan Rudd with 18 minutes remaining, the custodian tipping Nicky Ajose’s driven shot round the post after the pacy former Bury man had breached the PNE backline for the first time on the afternoon.
Chris Humphrey again stung the gloves of Foderingham with 13 minutes left on the clock after collecting Keith Keane’s ball down the right before cutting inside McEveley and firing left footed but straight at the keeper.
The visitors pulled themselves back into the game with four minutes left when Dany N’Guessan curled a shot past Declan Rudd from the left hand corner of the box into the bottom right hand corner, but in controversial circumstances with Paul Huntington down with a head injury at the time.
A brilliant block by Lee Holmes then denied Kasim as the game went into four minutes of injury time. Keith Keane then made a great saving tackle on Nicky Ajose as the visitors piled on late pressure, but PNE held on to make it five wins from five.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Humphrey (Welsh, 84), Laird, Huntington, Clarke, Wright, Keane (Wroe, 90), Byrom, Hume (Holmes, 75), K Davies, Beavon. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Garner, Buchanan, Mousinho.
Swindon Town line-up: Foderingham, N Thompson (Barthram, 42), Byrne (Ajose, 36), Luongo, Hall, Pritchard (Elgabas, 76), N’Guessan, McEveley, Kasim, L Thompson, Ward. Subs not used: Storey, Cox, Belford, Branco.
Attendance: 9,296 (386 away fans)
: Mr M RussellReferee