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Academy 4–2 Wigan Athletic

18 August 2014

Three second half goals made it three wins from three as the Academy came from behind to beat Wigan Athletic at Victory Park.

Despite going ahead early on through Jonathan Lunney, two goals from Wigan captain Louis Robles put the visitors ahead at half-time.

But a rejuvenated Preston side sealed the three points in the second half with goals from James Boyd, Eddie Dsane and Sean Whelan.

Manager Nick Harrison said: “It was a tale of two halves.

“In the first half we were just not at the races, they were quicker than us.

“Although we got off to a good start, we just started to get a little bit sloppy and slow with our defending, we just made the wrong decisions.

“Second half I thought we were much better, we took the game to them, we pressured well, we passed the ball better, and at the end of the game I thought we deserved to get the win.”

Wigan started the game brightly but were soon behind as Preston struck first.

It was Luke Pritchard that looked particularly threatening down the left-hand side and he was able to find Lunney who brilliantly was able to chip the ball over the keeper one-on-one.

But Wigan’s perseverance paid off, and they took a lead into the half-time break.

The Latics were awarded a penalty to which Robles sent Preston keeper Ross Dalton the wrong way, and he soon doubled his side’s tally as Preston failed to clear a corner.

The Wigan captain excellently made North End pay for their error by once again giving the keeper no chance to give his side the lead. 

Preston however started the second-half how they had begun the first with an early goal and once again it was Pritchard as the provider.

Breaking down the left, the winger cut inside and his scooped pass wasn’t dealt with by the Wigan defence as Boyd came in at the back post to fire it home.

With 15 minutes remaining, Dsane gave Preston the lead once more.

Having not received much service all game and as Wigan failed to deal with a corner, the forward pounced on a loose ball and rifled home from just inside the area.

The victory was finally sealed when Whelan’s free kick into the box eluded everyone and found its way into the corner of the Wigan goal.

Although it may have been a fortunate goal, there was certainly nothing fortunate about the result as Preston fully deserved to win as they blew Wigan away in the second half.

Discussing the second half, Harrison said: “We just reminded them why they had won two games, they won the first two games because we competed, we won the individual battles, we worked hard and the quality was better, so we reminded them in a nice way and we just asked them for a bit of character and I thought we got that in the second half.”

The victory could have been much more comfortable for Preston had it not been for individual errors that led to the two Wigan goals.

The second goal came just before half-time which changed the dynamics of Harrison’s team talk at the break, but whatever was said clearly had the desired effect, as his side came out and dominated the second half and did not allow Wigan near Dalton’s goal.

Barring the two goals, Dalton had a relatively quiet game, while Harrison made sure his side responded.

He continued: “They were just sloppy mistakes, just bad decisions, but what I would say is that the two lads that made those decisions have been outstanding for us all season.

“They are still young lads and they’re learning the game and the main thing is that they learn from that.

“We spoke to them at half time, especially those two individuals, and I thought they went out in the second half and performed much better.”

Preston now have an extra few days to recover as they have no fixture next weekend and are back in action at Rochdale on the 26th of August.

Harrison said: “We don’t have a competitive game next weekend, so we’ve got a good few days to work with them and to get a good recovery in.

“We just say to them what we say every game - the target is to win and get three points but it is also to perform well.”

PNE XI: Dalton, Smith, Whelan, Robinson, Sampson, Roscoe, Lunney, Wicks, Dsane, Boyd, Pritchard.

Subs: Quigley, Bullock, Jagne, Hagon, Roberts.

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