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Academy 2-0 Accrington Stanley

22 December 2014

Preston wrapped up 2014 with a Lancashire derby victory over Accrington as both sides finished with ten men.

In a replica scoreline to the one on the opening weekend of the season, goals from James Boyd and Luke Pritchard were enough for Preston in what was a scrappy game, but they saw Sam Livesey sent off midway through the second half.

Manager Nick Harrison said: “We were disappointed at the end of the game that we didn’t score more, I thought we had plenty of chances to maybe get five or six and to be fair they had a couple of chances as well when they broke on the counter attack. 

“We were better in the second half, we showed some good quality in the second half, I thought our football was better, the pitch made the game what it was, it’s a heavy surface so it didn’t allow us to play free-flowing football but I thought when we did, we looked good.”

The playing surface at Chorley was not up to the usual high standards that Preston have come to expect, as both sides found it tough to get their passing game going from the start.

With neither side able to get a foot on the ball and assert their authority, the breakthrough came in that exact fashion as Preston took the lead.

Accrington keeper Christian Evans failed to clear his lines from a back pass, as Boyd tackled the Stanley keeper and slotted the ball home for the lead.

Pritchard had a glorious chance to give his side a precious two goal lead at half-time, but he was unable to direct his effort on target following a glorious through ball from Bradley Wicks.

The second half finished how the first had ended, with a Stanley corner.

But once again it was easily defended and Eddie Dsane led a breakout as Preston forced a corner of their own.

The resulting corner led to the usual pushing and pulling in the box but also to a red card for either side, as Livesey and James Wolfenden were sent off for their reactions to the melee in the six yard box.

With both sides down to ten men, there was a chance to exploit the new found space and it was Preston who made the most soon after.

Working their possession around the edge of the Stanley box, Preston remained patient and as the ball eventually found its way over the top to Pritchard, the forward was able to loop his header over the onrushing keeper to double his sides lead, although Dsane took to social media to claim he tapped the ball over the line.

At 2-0 Preston looked comfortable in possession, but were unable to further assert their dominance on the scoreline as the hosts had to settle for what they had.

Goalscorer James Boyd said: “I thought the team played well especially when we went down to ten men on both sides, everyone worked hard and we got the three points which we deserved.

Boyd also scored in the first fixture at Accrington and he had a hand in the second goal, but he now hopes that his side can push on in 2015.

“The season has been a bit up and down but I think the team is now in a good position to hopefully kick on and win the league.”

In what was a frustrating game in terms of getting to grips with the pitch and the red card, Harrison was pleased with how his side managed the game and the season so far.

“I actually thought it (the red card) calmed the game down for some reason, it didn’t affect us negatively.

“It’s a silly sending off, Sam will learn from that.

“It’s been fantastic (the season so far). We see that we’ve got a good group, we’ve got some good players within the group as well and it’s now about them pushing to get their professional contracts and there are certainly some of them who are showing some good promise and they get a little bit of a break now.

“When we come back into training they’ve got a game on the third (January) and they’ve got to show and prove to people that they are good enough to be at this football club.”

PNE XI: Hudson, Smith, Hagon, Hancox, Whelan, Wicks, Jagne, Livesey, Boyd, Dsane, Pritchard.

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