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Match Reports

Match Report: Accrington Stanley 1 PNE 1

24 July 2021

PNE were made to settle for a draw against Accrington Stanley, with the opener from a Lilywhites trialist being cancelled out by Joe Pritchard.

North End’s opener came from the right-hand side where Tom Barkhuizen found the trialist inside the area, and he headed in from close range to break the deadlock in the second half.

The game was back level on 67 minutes, though, with Pritchard volleying home an equaliser for the hosts.

Head coach Frankie McAvoy was able to call upon skipper Alan Browne from the off for the first time in pre-season, while the eventual goalscoring trialist started on the bench.

After Sean Maguire sent a speculative shot wide in the opening five minutes, the first meaningful effort of the game came 13 minutes in, when Ryan Ledson’s whipped free-kick from the left was tipped over the crossbar by James Trafford.

Declan Rudd was first tested ten minutes later by Matt Butcher, but the goalkeeper was equal to his 20-yard strike.

After Ledson went into the book midway through the half for a high challenge on Pritchard, North End created the next chance of the game, with Greg Cunningham and the booked midfielder linking up well on the left. His pull back was set in the direction of Ben Whiteman and Tom Barkhuizen, and the latter saw his left-footed effort rise over the bar.

At the other end, another strike from Butcher took a deflection on its way to goal from an Accrington Stanley man and the ball went just inches wide of post, as did an Emil Riis effort just moments later.

The last action of the first half saw Ledson swing a free-kick into the area and Liam Lindsay got up highest, but sent his header wide of goal.

PNE made a double change at the break, with Maguire and Browne departing, and on in their place was Brad Potts and a trialist.

It took the trialist just seven minutes to make an impact, as he opened the scoring by heading home from Barkhuizen’s cross from the right.

Another substitute, Joel Mumbongo for the hosts, had a great chance to draw his side level as he was released in behind the defence, however his effort dragged across the face of goal and out for a throw.

Stanley did soon have their equaliser, though, as Pritchard met a cross from the left and volleyed home into the bottom corner.

The last 15 minutes of the match was a battle between Mumbongo and Rudd, with the 'keeper preventing the forward from giving his side the lead on three occasions.

77 minutes in, the ball fell to Mumbongo less than ten yards out, but Rudd produced a fantastic save to keep him out.

The Stanley forward had another great chance four minutes from the end and again Rudd managed to thwart him, with the goalkeeper diving to his left to keep the scores level.

North End's No.1 then produced an even better stop in the final minute of the game as he scurried to his right to ensure the striker's header didn't get past him.

Starting XI: Rudd, Storey, Lindsay, Hughes, Barkhuizen, Whiteman, Ledson, Browne, Cunningham, Riis, Maguire.

Full-Time XI: Rudd, van den Berg, Bauer, Earl, Rafferty, Bayliss, Trialist A, Leigh, Harrop, Sinclair, Potts.


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