Alex Neil’s side kept up their 100 per cent pre-season record with a dominant performance against Morecambe at the Globe Arena.
Goals from Tom Barkhuizen and Ben Pearson, either side of half-time, saw the Lilywhites to a 2-0 victory against Jim Bentley’s men.
Barkhuizen scored for the third consecutive game, firing home with the outside of his right foot after being slid though by Daryl Horgan and Pearson fired home a superb 25 yard strike in the second half to cap an excellent individual display.
The North End manager upped the workload of his squad, giving ten players an hour of game time, with Daniel Johnson completing the full 90 against the Shrimps.
It was a performance where the possession stats told the full tale, with the home side having to wait until 83 minutes for a single attempt on the PNE goal, by which time the visitors had rained in 20 efforts at Morecambe’s trialist goalkeeper.
Chances started early for the blue clad Championship side, Marnick Vermijl seeing a drilled effort blocked for a corner. From another of the nine corner kicks for North End, Daryl Horgan’s deep ball found its way to Jordan Hugill 12 yards out. His goalbound effort was well blocked in the six yard box, falling back to the No.9, but his rebound strike was over the bar.
But the opener came on 36 minutes as Barkhuizen raced onto a threaded pass from Horgan in a left hand channel and fired hard and low with the outside of his right hand boot past the ’keeper and in off the right hand post.
The Irish assister for the first goal almost added a second on 51 minutes. Driving in from the left he found his way to the edge of the box before curling a shot just inches past the right hand upright.
The lead was doubled 11 minutes after the interval as more North End pressure resulted in a ball coming out to Pearson, who had dominated the game from just in front of the back four, and he fired an arrowing effort into the bottom right corner of the goal from 25 yards out.
Both teams made a number of changes in the final 30 minutes, but it was still the Lilywhites who dominated the chances, with Johnson probing and almost creating an opening for a lively Stevie May with five minutes to go, however, it remained two and another victory.
Morecambe line-up: Trialist, McGowan (Kenyon, 60), Thompson (Jordan, 70), Oliver (Brough, 60), Ellison (Yawson, 83), Conlan (Trialist 4, 60), Trialist 2 (Fleming, 60), Turner (Lund, 60), Trialist 3 (Campbell, 60), Rose (c), Hedley (Hawley, 60).
PNE line-up: Maxwell (Hudson, 60), Vermijl (Grimshaw, 60), Cunningham (c) (Earl, 60), Pearson (Browne, 60), Boyle (Huntington, 60), Davies (Spurr, 60), Barkhuizen (Meulensteen, 60), Johnson, Hugill (May, 60), Robinson (Doyle, 60), Horgan (Pringle, 60).
Referee: Darren Handley