Alex Neil’s Preston North End made it four straight wins in pre-season, with second half goals from Irishmen Alan Browne and Graham Burke giving the Lilywhites a 2-0 win over a spirited Chorley side.
Jamie Vermiglio’s recently promoted National League outfit put on a good display, particularly before half-time, when they hit the woodwork and saw a goal disallowed, but after the hour mark the visitors put their foot on the gas and made it 10-0 across the four 90 minutes played so far.
The opener, immediately after the manager had made ten outfield changes, came as a throw in on the left was headed down by Sean Maguire into the path of Burke, whose in turn laid in Browne, who curled a superb shot around a defender into the right corner of the goal.
And it was 2-0 with 12 minutes to go as Maguire was again involved, with a clever and perfectly weighted through ball for Burke to run onto. He took an excellent first touch before coolly placing the ball past Danny Eccles in the Magpies’ goal.
Once again the manager chose to give half his squad 60 minutes and the opening team started brightly, with a Johnson corner headed back into the mixer by Josh Earl at the back post; Josh Harrop then finding Jayden Stockley who checked inside onto his left foot 18 yards out, but Eccles did well to hold onto the striker’s effort.
Mid-way through the first half and Chorley trialist Louis Dodds was close to the opener, finding the right-hand post from 20 yards out.
And Victory Park thought it had seen an opener with seven minutes to go before the interval, when Josh O’Keefe hit the same post that Dodds had earlier found only for former PNE forward Chris Holroyd to fire home from close range, but the assistant’s flag was already up before the ball found the net.
After the break the better chances went the way of North End, Earl’s cross from the left was headed just over by Louis Moult four minutes in and then Stockley hit the opposite post to that Chorley had twice hit in the earlier half, Johnson and Moult exchanging a one-two before the former found the No.20, who diverted it against the upright.
On the hour mark the ten outfield players were changed and within 30 seconds PNE went in front. Andrew Hughes took a throw in on the left mid-way inside the home half and Maguire played in down into the path of Burke. He then played the ball into the stride path of the third Irish international in the move, with Browne curling the ball beautifully around the centre half and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.
Burke looked bright after his introduction and forced a fine save from Eccles with a left-foot pile-driver from 30 yards, the keeper tipping the ball over the bar for a corner.
Josh Ginnelly put over an excellent ball from the right, with a quarter of an hour to go, that found Hughes overlapping on the left, but his first time effort wasn’t quite controlled and he could only find the side-netting.
The second and final goal came with 12 minutes left. Referee Leigh Doughty did well to play on after a foul on Patrick Bauer, and the ball was played forward to Maguire out on the right touchline on half-way.
The No.24 controlled the ball with his first touch and then perfectly weighted a ball inside the Magpies last man for Burke to run onto, controlling superbly with his first touch and then placing the ball into the bottom right hand corner to complete the scoring and give the Lilywhites another win and their fourth clean sheet of their 2019/20 preparations.
Chorley line-up: Eccles, Ross, Blakeman, Teague (c), Baines, Meppen-Walter, Dodds, O’Keefe, Carver, Holroyd, Newby. Subs: Leather, Newby, Cottrell, Agbozo, Anson, Heaton, Brickell.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Rafferty (Ginnelly, 60), Earl (Hughes, 60), Ledson (Pearson, 60), Huntington (c) (Bauer, 60), Storey (Davies, 60), Barkhuizen (Bodin, 60), Johnson (Browne, 60), Moult (Maguire, 60), Stockley (Burke, 60), Harrop (Gallagher, 60).
Referee: Mr L Doughty