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Academy 1-0 Wrexham

1 October 2014

Preston returned to winning ways against Wrexham as Josh Sampson’s first half header was enough to clinch three points.

Preston dominated the first half and went ahead after just seven minutes, but Wrexham were twice denied by the crossbar in the second half.

The hosts were almost punished for failing to take their chances that could have seen them home and dry by the end of the first half.

Manager Nick Harrison said: “It’s a good win; I thought we were excellent in the first half, they put us under pressure in the second half, but we could have been 3-0 up in the first 15 minutes.

“The players showed a fantastic energy to start the game.

“We didn’t take our chances in the first half which maybe gave them a bit of hope in the second half and we had to defend as a team in the second half to see the game out.

Preston started brightly and scored with their first chance.

Winning the ball in midfield, James Quigley crossed from the right to find Sampson whose bullet header left Wrexham keeper Adam Whitlock helpless to prevent his side going behind.

As the first half went on, Preston were not allowing Wrexham to break out of their own half as they started to assert their authority on the game.

As Wrexham struggled to get a hold on the ball, Eddie Dsane went close to catching out their defence as stray passes almost sent the number nine clean through on goal.

Preston continued to ask questions of the visiting defence from both flanks, winning a succession of corners from both sides, but were unable to convert.

Luke Pritchard fired over from a free-kick as he slipped, and he tried his luck on a couple more occasions but was unable to double his sides lead, Dsane also dragged an effort wide as the first half came to an end.

Out early for the second half, Preston knew that the next goal could be crucial in this fixture.

Academy captain Bradley Roscoe headed over a Pritchard free-kick as Preston looked to carry on where they left off.

Despite looking susceptible on the counter attack, Wrexham began to get a hold of the ball and pile forward.

They had a good chance 15 minutes into the second half when Jake Doran’s goal bound header was brilliantly tipped over the bar by keeper Ross Dalton.

Soon after they went close again through Daniel Reynolds, but were this time denied by a last-ditch block from Roscoe.

They soon went even closer as they were twice denied by the woodwork.

Firstly a deflected shot from Jonny Smith left Dalton stranded as the ball rebounded off the frame of the goal.

Then a header from substitute Leo Smith was kept out by the ‘bar as Wrexham continued to apply pressure.

The hosts did create chances of their own in the second half through Quigley and substitute Ben Roberts, but the early goal was enough for the victory as the game finished 1-0.

It was a much improved start from Preston after last week’s frustrating goalless draw at Bury.

Harrison said: “We asked them to start quickly and create as many chances as we could and that was the objective throughout the game, we did that first half but we just lacked that little bit of quality to put the
ball in the net.

“At 1-0 in the second half, it gave them a little bit of hope, and I thought they were unlucky not to score, but credit to our team for the way that they defended.”

It was a solid defensive effort by North End as they threw bodies on the line on a number of occasions to keep a cleansheet, showing the resolve that did not see them conceded at Bury.

Left back Sean Whelan said: “Against Bury last week we were very slow.

“We worked hard to come out the blocks, get ourselves in front early, get a goal and take the game from there.

“They had a few chances second half; the lads did very well to keep them out, as a unit I thought we worked well together to keep a clean sheet.”

PNE lineup: Dalton, Smith, Whelan, Roscoe, Sampson, Hagon, Quigley, Robinson, Dsane, Boyd, Pritchard.

Subs: Wicks, Martin, Jagne, Roberts, Robinson.

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