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Chorley 0 PNE 0

11 July 2015

Preston North End were held to a 0-0 draw away to Chorley FC in their first pre-season fixture of the summer.

It means the Jack Kirkland Trophy must be shared for the first time in it's history, with nothing between the two sides this time around. 

North End had the best opportunity to win the game through a Joe Garner penalty. The referee pointed to the spot after the PNE striker clashed with Chorley ‘keeper Sam Ashton with 20 minutes to play.

Garner stepped up but his powerful effort into the top corner bounced off the underside of the bar and out, before being cleared by the Chorley defence.

The opening exchanges of the first half were typical of a pre-season friendly but as the first half progressed, the tempo increased and North End piled the pressure on to the hosts. 

It was Andy Little with the first real chance of the game on five minutes after Neil Kilkenny found the Northern Irishman with a great ball from the middle of the park, but it was just ahead of Little and out for a goalkick. 

Shortly after it was almost a dream start for on loan striker Will Keane, Jermaine Beckford played the ball to his fellow striker after some superb passing play from North End, but Keane was just beaten to the ball by Chorley ‘keeper Sam Ashton. 

PNE continued to put pressure on Matt Jansen’s side and by the ten-minute mark, Beckford, Kyel Reid and Little all had chances to put Simon Grayson’s side ahead. 

On ten minutes came Chorley’s best chance of the game so far, Danny Ventre with a fierce strike from outside the box, and he forces a fantastic save from Jamie Jones. 

The PNE fans were given a glimpse of what to expect from new signing Will Keane, despite being dragged down by a Chorley defender, the striker battled for the ball and played in Kyel Reid who fired at goal but was denied by a fantastic save by Ashton in the Chorley goal. 

Chorley withstood the pressure and created chances of their own, the best coming from Harry Winter, who’s curling effort may have troubled Jones in the PNE goal but it sails just wide of the post. 

It was soon North End’s turn to attack once again, with Jordan Hugill causing all sorts of problems for the Chorley defence. Little was the provider on two occasions, Hugill was unable to get an effort on target.

Jermaine Beckford me a John Welsh cross shortly after with ten minutes of the first half to play but it lacked the power to trouble Ashton. The striker made up for that soon after with a powerful header at goal but the Chorley ‘keeper denied him with a fine save. 

The hosts had a chance to go ahead through James Dean just before the break but it flies wide.

Just before the break, it was Keane again with a chance to get his first goal for North End. The initial shot was miss hit by the 22-year-old but he recovered well, turning to get a powerful shot away, it’s on target but deflected for a corner. 

The second half saw wholesale changes for North End with manager Simon Grayson bring on a completely new eleven for the second period. 

Chorley made nine changes themselves, but as is permitted with pre-season friendlies, players can return to the field in the second half. 

The second period started much like the first with little in the way of clear cut chances, but arguably the first real chance of the half fell to the hosts. 

A fantastic cross by Adam Dodd to Jake Cottrell inside the 18-yard-box,  and the Chorley man was one-on-one with jones but the PNE ‘keeper did well and gathers the ball. 

Soon after, Alan Browne pulled the trigger from the edge of the box with a powerful strike but the Chorley defence stood strong to block the midfielder’s shot. 

It was Chorley on the attack again through Aaron Burns, who found himself in space in the area and it would have been a sure goal but for a brilliant save from Jamie Jones. 

That was to be last of the action for the North End ‘keeper who was replaced on the 70 minute mark by youngster Steven James, as was planned from before kick-off. 

Just a few minutes later, all the action was at the other end of the pitch as Joe Garner clashed with Chorley ‘keeper Ashton and the referee awarded North End a penalty. 

It was Garner who stepped up and aimed for the top corner, but the ball fired off the underside of the cross bar and bounced out to deny last season’s top goalscorer. 

The game seemed to liven up after that with both sides looking to break the deadlock with less than twenty minutes to play. 

Chorley made a double change on 75 minutes with Andy Teague and Paul Jarvis returning to the field in place of Danny Ventre and Adam Dodd. 

A speculative effort from Joe garner almost saw PNE take the lead, the striker trying an overhead kick form inside the six-yard box but he saw his effort go behind for a goal kick. 

Daniel Johnson had a chance to win it for North End with just five minutes to play, his dipping shot from range only just over the cross bar. 

Just before the final whistle went, Tom Smyth was replaced by Mark Ross. 

The game ended goalless and North End were unable to retain the Jack Kirkland trophy, but it was certainly a good test for the boys in their first pre-season tie. 

Chorley line-up (first half): Ashton, Ross, Dodd, Teague, Charnock, Sheridan, Hine, Winter, Dean, Ventre, Jarvis. 

Chorley line-up (second half): Ashton, Ventre (Jarvis, 75), Dodd (Teague, 75), Flynn, Smyth (Ross, 90), Cottrell, Lynch, Whitham, Burns, Dorney, Almond. 

PNE line-up (first half): Jones, Clarke, Davies, Wright, Kilkenny, Welsh, Little, Reid, Hugill, Keane, Beckford. 

PNE line up (second half):  Jones (James, 70), Woods, Huntington, Anderton, Heaton, Browne, Brownhill, Gallagher, Johnson, Garner, Ryan. 

Attendance: 2,022

Referee: Mr S Oldham 


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