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Match Reports

Wigan Athletic 2 Preston North End 0

22 April 2019

Ten man Preston North End were undone by goal in each half, as Wigan Athletic took the points at the DW Stadium.

Ryan Ledson was sent off mid-way through the first half for a high-tackle on Kal Naismith, which came in between goals from Leon Clarke and Lee Evans.

The hosts took the lead on 11 minutes in when a ball was played in by Antonee Robinson on the left, and the unchanged Lilywhites missed a chance to clear, playing it into the path of Naismith, who was unmarked in behind the PNE defence, and he had time and space to pull the ball back for an unmarked Clarke to fire home.

But the game changed dramatically on 34 minutes when Ledson given straight red card for foul on Naismith. The No.18 tried to clear high ball, but caught the opposition folder around the shoulder and referee Andy Madley produced an immediate red card, which – unless there was a successful appeal – would see the midfielder miss not just the last two games of the season, but also the first two of next season!

Despite being a man down the best of the chances in the remainder of the half still fell to North End, this in the final minute of three added on, when Joe Rafferty met Paul Gallagher’s right-wing corner, but his powerful header flashes just wide of the right-hand upright.

At the start of the season half the Latics had a great chance to double their lead when former PNE loanee Clarke got in behind the North End backline and got into the box, only for Declan Rudd to make a fine save, with Naismith offside for the rebound, which Rudd had again saved anyway.

Ben Davies was close to an equaliser seven minutes into the second half, as he was free from Gallagher’s corner, only for Clarke to head off the line as the ball was heading for the top right hand corner.

Two more corners followed with Chey Dunkley scrambling the ball away from the last, as the ball ricocheted around in the box; Davies and Daniel Johnson both seeing efforts blocked as the Lilywhites pressed for a goal.

Three minutes later and it was all North End with Fisher driving into the box only to see a shot on target blocked by seemingly Dunkley’s right hand, with only a corner given, the No.2 livid he didn’t get a penalty.

And how Wigan were not then reduced to ten men, only the referee can know Morsy had been booked in the first half and he brought down Maguire who would have been free in the box, but no card was forthcoming. From the free kick Gallagher had a superb shot from an extremely tight angle that forced Christian Walton to dive at full stretch to palm the ball away.

The pressure was incessant from the ten men in green with a fifth corner in the space of seven minutes on the hour mark played back to Gallagher, only for his cross to be blocked.

But despite the pressure the next goal came the way of the home side. The ball came in from substitute Nick Powell on the left and found its way out to Lee Evans whose shot from 15 yards took a deflection that sent it into the roof of the net.

The second goal, that came against the run of play, took the sting out of the game. Two changes by PNE saw Josh Ginnelly and Louis Moult brought on, with Nmecha and Maguire the men to give way.

Some more excellent play from the visitors saw Davies again involved, this time with a clever cross-field ball out to the left to find Moult, who hit a first time lob over Walton, that had the keeper scrmabling backwards, only for the ball to drift just wide of the right-hand post, but it was to remain 2-0.

Wigan Athletic line-up: Walton, Byrne, A Robinson, Morsy (c), Fox, Massey (Powell, 46), James, Naismith (Roberts, 67), Dunkley, L Clarke (Garner, 84), Evans. Subs not used: Evans, Gibson, Windass, Olsson.

PNE line-up: Rudd, Rafferty, Fisher, Ledson, Storey, Davies, Gallagher (c), Johnson, Nmecha (Ginnelly, 77), Maguire (Moult, 77), Robinson. Subs not used: Ripley, Earl, Stockley, Huntington, O’Reilly.

Attendance: 12,496 (2,891 PNE fans)

Referee: Mr A Madley

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