PNE 1 Oldham Athletic 0
King, starting his first game of the season, was out of the blocks quickly, blasting home from ten yards out to give the Lilywhites the lead.
Manager Simon Grayson had made three changes from the side that drew with Doncaster the previous week; King, Scott Laird and Andy Little replacing Alan Browne, Neil Kilkenny and Ben Davies in the starting XI.
And North End, who lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation got off to the perfect start through their No.22. They were awarded a free kick on the right, some good refereeing to give a foul on Joe Garner after trying to play advantage. Paul Gallagher then wonderfully whipped a free kick in from the right to the back post to Tom Clarke who headed across goal and Jack King powered into the roof of the net from the penalty spot just three and a half minutes in.
However, the visitors weren’t deterred by the early set back and played the first half on the front foot. On six minutes Jonson Clarke-Harris headed straight at Jamie Jones from ten yards out after a cross from Winchester on the right.
On the break Gallagher did well to create space on the left and collect a throw in from Scott Laird, he pulled the ball back to Joe Garner 15 yards out on his less favoured left foot, but his shot was straight into the ground and bounced up and into hands of Paul Rachubka.
On the quarter hour mark man mountain George Elokobi picked up the ball on the edge of the centre circle and raced forward before unleashing from 25 yards just wide of the right hand post.
Shortly after another free kick was won by North End on the left, Gallagher again delivered and Bailey Wright flicked at it, but it evaded everyone and was an inch wide of the right hand post with Rachubka nowhere.
Jonson Clarke-Harris was again found, this time by former loanee Jonathan Forte in the left hand corner of the box; his left-footed shot was on goal, but was well blocked by Bailey Wright. The resulting corner from Joe Mills on the right was eventually fired over by Latics skipper Liam Kelly after a couple of frantic moments.
With eight minutes left in the half the ball was passed out quickly from the back by PNE out to Humphrey, he had swapped to the left and he cut inside and saw a shot deflected behind for the Lilywhites’ first corner. The ball was delivered to the back post to Tom Clarke, but Elokobi got a block on the captain’s header.
The visitors started the second half the brighter of the two sides and Jonson Clarke-Harris brought a save from Jamie Jones just after the hour mark as he cut in from the right and curled an effort towards the top left hand corner.
Jordan Hugill made his home debut with 20 minutes to go, joining Alan Browne in replacing Brownhill and Gallagher as North End switched to a 4-4-2.
Alan Browne made an impact with an excellent driving run and cross with 15 minutes left; his left wing ball finding an unmarked Joe Garner ten yards out, but his flashing header went wide of Rachubka’s right hand post.
With ten seconds of normal time left Jonathan Forte had a great chance to level matters up as the ball broke in the box after a ball in from substitute Amari-Smith on the right, but Jamie Jones blocked his effort and the substitute fired wide in space on the right hand corner of the box in the last chance of the game.
PNE line-up: Jones, Woods, Laird, King, Clarke (c), Wright (Wiseman, 84), Humphrey, Brownhill (Browne, 69), Garner, Gallagher (Hugill, 69), Little. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Kilkenny, K Davies, Hayhurst.
Oldham Athletic line-up: Rachubka, Mills (Noble, 86), Elokobi, Kelly, Jones, Philliskirk (Dayton, 75), Forte, Clarke-Harris, Winchester (Amari-Smith, 74), J Wilson, B Wilson. Subs not used: Coleman, Brown, Dieng, Kusunga.
Attendance: 11,678 (865 away fans)
Referee: Mr S Duncan