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Match Reports

Accrington Stanley 2 PNE 3

19 July 2017

Goals from Alan Browne, Callum Robinson and Greg Cunningham made it four wins from four in pre-season for the Lilywhites at Accrington Stanley.

Jonny Edwards and a late strike from Matty Pearson for the home side made the scoreline closer than it looked at the Wham Stadium, in a game where Alex Neil’s men again dominated possession.

Browne opened the scoring on 37 minutes, slotting into the bottom left corner from Eoin Doyle’s reverse pass and Robinson made it two five minutes later, sweeping the ball into the same spot for his third goal of pre-season.

Edwards converted after the ball fell kindly to him ten yards out just before the hour mark, but Cunningham blasted into the roof of the net, after seeing an initial header from a corner saved, to open the two goal advantage back up, only for Pearson to make it a nervy last few minutes after bursting clean through with two minutes left and slotting past Mathew Hudson.

The manager had switched around much of the team from the previous night’s win against Morecambe, only Ben Pearson, Callum Robinson and Chris Maxwell retaining their starting berths, but the same possession style continued.

The visitors, wearing their blue kit from the 2016/17 season for the last time, almost had the lead on 19 minutes when Tommy Spurr played a superb cross-field ball to Robinson, who in turn drove the ball across the six yard box, but the ball was cleared off the foot of Stevie May.

The opener came eight minutes before the interval and Liam Grimshaw fed Doyle in the right hand corner of the box, who in turn played a lovely reverse pass to Alan Browne 12 yards out, who steered the ball into the bottom left hand corner of Aaron Chapman’s goal.

And it was 2-0 five minutes later and it was a fantastic effort. It was started in the right back position by Robinson. He laid the ball into Irishman Browne in the middle of the park - finding the No.8 with the outside of his right boot. Browne surged forward and found Ben Pringle on the left of the box, who then slid the ball in behind the Reds backline to where Robinson had continued his run and he found the same corner Browne had finished into.

It was almost three shortly after the break as Pringle’s corner was onto the penalty spot and met by a powerful header from Tommy Spurr. The ball was heading for the top right hand corner until Chapman stretched out a hand and tipped the ball away.

Coleman’s men halved the deficit two minutes before the hour mark when a free kick from a right hand channel was headed down by Omar Beckles, finding its way to Edwards, unmarked, ten yards out and he too found the bottom left hand corner in front of the Accrington fans.

Ben Pringle had a chance to extend the lead once again at the half’s mid-point, substitute Daryl Horgan – one of nine to come on just after an hour – crossing onto a six pence from the right, but the No.18 couldn’t connect and Chapman managed to smother.

The goalkeeper was again called upon to deny Jordan Hugill with another powerful header from Cunningham’s deep cross from the left.

But the stopper could do nothing on 75 minutes as another Pringle corner, this time from the right, found Cunningham at the back post. His initial header was saved, but came back out to the left back who blasted the ball from the corner of the six yard box into the roof of the net.

The home side pulled back within one of the Lilywhites when Matty Pearson broke onto a short back pass and ran clean through one-on-one with Hudson and slotted low into the bottom left corner once again, but the game remained 3-2 and the pre-season’s 100 per cent record extended another game.

Accrington Stanley line-up: Chapman, Donacien (Pearson, 46), Ogle, Hughes (Mohammed, 46), Sykes (Beckles, 46), Brown (c), Sousa (Clark, 72), Nolan, Kee (Trialist, 46), Edwards, McLeod. Subs not used: Boco, Richards-Everton.

PNE line-up: Maxwell (Hudson, 62), Grimshaw (Vermijl, 62), Huntington (c) (Boyle, 62), Spurr (Davies, 62), Earl (Cunningham, 62), Pearson (Meulensteen, 62). Browne, Doyle (Horgan, 62), Robinson (Hugill, 62), May (Barkhuizen, 62), Pringle. Sub not used: Roberts.

Attendance: 989

Referee: Darren Handley


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