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PNE U18s 0-0 Walsall U18s

17 August 2015

PNE U18s recorded their first point of the 2015/16 campaign with a 0-0 draw to Walsall at Chorley Park on Saturday.

Although not the three points boss Nick Harrison was looking for following defeat to Wrexham on the opening day of the season, the North End manager was happy with how his players bounced back from last week’s loss. 

“We were after a bit of a reaction after losing the game last week and conceding three,” said Harrison to PNE.com after the stalemate.

“We’re pleased that we kept a clean sheet but as a group we’ve got to find ways to win games.

“That’s got to come from everybody on the pitch - keeping clean sheets is down to everyone on the pitch and we have to make sure we create more chances and score more goals but we’re pleased to come away with a point because it was a good game.

“Walsall was a good challenge for us and it’s certainly something for us to build on next game.”

The closest North End came from breaking the deadlock was through Dylan Davidson whose shot from inside the box from Josh Earl’s cross edged just over.

Adam Joseph Robinson and Earl himself also threatened to add their name to the score sheet, but in the end neither side could find the net and take home three points.

Preston pressurised the Walsall backline as early as the fourth minute, with the Lilywhite forwards looking to exploit the away side’s high defensive line.

Two balls over the top gave James Boyd something to chase early on, but the Walsall shot-stopper was quick to clear the danger both times.

Walsall’s William Shorrock came close on two occasions to finding the net – the first a shot from the edge of the box that flashed wide – the second, a free-kick from an awkward angle that forced PNE ‘keeper Callum Roberts low to save.

North End came equally as close in the second-half – Earl on 50 minutes dragged a shot wide whilst A Joseph Robinson’s deflected shot sailed off target.

Albeit chances were few and far between, it was a solid defensive performance from Harrison’s side -  a side that featured three changes from the Wrexham game last weekend.

One of those to come into the side was Clive Smith, who slotted back into the youth set-up at right back after his exploits with the first-team, and the gaffer credited the performance of the Lilywhites’ skipper.

“It was great to get Clive Smith back into the group,” he continued.

“He’s been with the first team since the start of the season so it was important he got the game time that he needs.

“I thought he gave fantastic leadership to the group and was part of that back five including the goalkeeper in keeping a clean sheet.

“We put the clean sheet down to all of the team working hard but on the other hand they’ve all got to play a part to score goals as well and that’s something we’ve been working on going into the game next Saturday.”

Harrison admitted his side were lacking in the final third over the weekend, but declared his content with were his team are at in terms of performances two games into the campaign.

He added: “I’m happy with where we are at this stage of the season.

“It’s been seven weeks since the start of pre-season - we’re delighted with the group we’ve got.

“But we’ll still keep challenging and asking more questions to the players in terms of what they can achieve and we’ll be pushing them all of the way so as a group of staff we’re more than happy with the group and the players we’ve got.

“We’ve got some good individual players that will come out and push for those pro contracts in 12 or 18 months-time.”

The youth Lilywhites continue with their season next Saturday away to Carlisle looking to record their first win of the season.


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