North End came out on the wrong end of another entertaining pre-season encounter, losing by the odd-goal in five to Premier League side Burnley at Deepdale.
Josh Harrop opened the scoring for PNE, firing low into the bottom left hand corner of the goal mid-way through the first half, only for Aaron Lennon to level matters with a driven effort from just inside the box shortly after.
The Premier League outfit put themselves ahead for the first time with 17 minutes to go when substitute Dan Agyei headed home, but Callum Robinson responded two minutes later after some excellent combination play with Sean Maguire.
But the winner came six minutes from time with an excellent strike on the half-volley by Dwight McNeil from 25 yards out, giving the visitors the result.
The game had a bright opening, with both clubs playing at a high tempo and showing good touches. The East Lancashire side had the first chance, when Irish international Jeff Hendrick had a shot from 15 yards out after a knock down from a corner, just wide of right hand upright.
A good break by Maguire from half-way saw the No.24 drive at heart of Clarets backline 19 minutes in, laying the ball left to Robinson, but his curling effort was too high to test Heaton.
At the half’s midway point the visitors were denied by two superb bits of defending from PNE. Sean Dyche’s side had broken down the left, with the ball fed into Sam Vokes 12 yards out. The Welshman looked to have found the bottom left hand corner, but for an excellent block by Lilywhites’ skipper Paul Huntington.
The ball came straight out to former Everton man Lennon 15 yards out, who fired a vicious drive goalwards, but Declan Rudd had got back into position and made a superb two-handed save, with Ben Pearson tidying up.
And this paid dividends two minutes later as the home side went ahead. This time Graham Burke went down the left, feeding the ball across to Maguire. He shaped to shoot, driving back inside, sliding the ball across to Harrop, who found the bottom left hand corner of the Burnley captain’s goal from a right-hand channel, 15 yards out.
The lead lasted three minutes as Burnley created an overload down the left, the ball being pulled back from the left-hand edge of the area to Hendrick, who fired goalwards. Huntington again make a fine block, but this time Lennon found the top right-hand corner from 18 yards on the rebound to level matters.
With the game approaching half-time some excellent build-up play by Daniel Johnson and Andrew Hughes carved out a chance for Callum Robinson, who turned away from his marker well, before curling an effort from the edge of ‘D’ that had Heaton back-pedalling, but it was just onto the roof of his goal. Then moments later, fellow Irish forward Burke dragged a shot just wide of the left hand post after a good ball in from Harrop.
Just before the break Ben Mee had a real chance to send his side into the interval ahead, as he met Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s left-wing inswinging ball, but his flashing effort was just wide of the right hand upright from 12 yards out.
North End came out of the blocks at real pace in the second half and had the ball in the net just two minutes in. An excellent spin and run from Robinson from half way then saw him fire goalwards from 20 yards out – Burnley had made a change in goal at half-time and Adam Legzdins made a fantastic block, but the ball fell to Maguire who stroked home from six yards out, only for the linesman’s flag to correctly go up, as the No.24 was a yard offside when the initial shot had come in.
However, chances came quickly at the start of the half as Burke and Maguire both saw 25 yard strikes blocked by England international defender James Tarkowski in the space of 30 seconds – all before the 50 minute mark.
Ten minutes into the second half and the visitors changed their entire outfield side, with their thoughts clearly on their Europa League tie, just three evening’s away.
As the second period reached its mid-point the home side won their first corner, from some trickery by substitute Billy Bodin, but from Harrop’s outswinging cross, the Welshman, who had won the crossing opportunity, dragged his snap-shot wide of the Town End’s left-hand upright.
But it was the Clarets who took the lead for a second time with 17 minutes to go as a cross from former Stoke City man Jon Walters found Dan Agyei on the penalty spot and he headed into the top right-hand corner of the goal.
In a reversal of the first half the Lilywhites were the ones who bounced straight back and were level just two minutes later. Maguire picked up the ball 30 yards out and worked himself a bit of room with his quick feet before playing a delightful little ball in between two Burnley defenders for Robinson to burst onto and slide the ball past Legzdins off the inside of the right hand post and into the back of the net to make it 2-2.
Into the final few minutes and North End finished strongly. Robinson again forced Legzdins into a good save, diving low to his right to deny PNE’s CR7 after Bodin had threaded him into the box and allowed him to get off a driven right foot shot.
However, it was Sean Dyche's side who went back ahead six minutes from the end, McNeil with an excellent driven finish from 25 yards on the half volley, after a header put of the penalty area didn't quite have enough distance on it.
For the third time there was an almost immediate riposte as Ryan Ledson nearly opened his PNE account, seeing Kevin Long make a fine block to deny his goalbound strike after some quick thinking by Daryl Horgan to take a quick corner, however, the equaliser didn't come and the game ended 3-2.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Woods (Fisher, 71), Hughes, Pearson (Ledson, 59), Huntington (c), Storey, Burke (Bodin 63), Johnson (Moult, 72), Maguire (Horgan, 80), Harrop (Browne, 71), Robinson. Subs not used: Maxwell, Earl, Clarke, Davies, Gallagher.
Burnley line-up: Heaton (c) (Legzdins, 46), Lowton (Taylor, 55), Cork (Kioke, 55), Tarkowski (Goodridge, 55), Mee (Walters, 55), Gudmundsson (Wells, 55), Vokes (Bardsley, 55), Hendrick (Long, 55), Westwood (McNei, 55), Ward (Agyei, 55), Lennon (Dunne, 55). Subs not used: Benson, Younger.
Attendance: 4,934 (872 Burnley fans)
Referee: Mr P Bankes