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Match Reports

Match Report: Bristol City 1 PNE 1

5 August 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: Bristol City 1 PNE 1

5 August 2023

Will Keane’s 86th-minute strike earned Preston North End a deserved point against Bristol City on the opening day of the Sky Bet Championship season.

After a quiet opening 45 minutes, the hosts opened the deadlock early in the second half through Sam Bell.

PNE then enjoyed a huge spell of pressure and created several opportunities – one of which saw skipper Alan Browne strike the post – before Keane netted late into his second PNE debut to seal a 1-1 draw.

Ryan Lowe handed out competitive debuts to Mads Frøkjær and Keane from the start, while local lad and teenager Kian Best made his senior bow, starting at left wing back.

The hosts looked to make a very quick start to the game and could have ended up in a one-on-one situation within the opening 30 seconds, were it not for a fantastic challenge from Liam Lindsay.

That’s about as close as either side came to having an opportunity to break the deadlock in the first 35 minutes or so, with the first shot of the day arriving in the 38th minute.

Nahki Wells capitalised on a loose Ryan Ledson pass and the Bermudian forward slammed a low ball across the area to Sam Bell at the back post, but goalkeeper Freddie Woodman came up with a big stop to deny the youngster from close range.

At the other end, debutant Best whipped a dangerous free-kick towards the far post, which had to be flicked behind for a corner, before Browne put in an even better ball from the resultant set piece which somehow evaded everyone in the middle.

Both sides would have wanted to create more in the second half and it took just two minutes for the hosts to break the deadlock. Woodman had done brilliantly to tip Wells' effort onto the post, but the ball fell straight to Bell who had the simple task of tapping home.

North End looked to respond almost instantly as good work from Ali McCann took the team from one end to another, and the ball ended with Frøkjær who took aim from 20 yards, seeing Max O’Leary save down low to his left.

Skipper Browne then had two good opportunities for his side, the first of which whistled just over the bar, before he sweetly struck a left-footed volley agonisingly against the post.

PNE were the side well on top and had a big penalty shout waved away in the 62nd minute when Keane’s low strike was blocked by the hands of Zak Vyner.

Three minutes later Keane played Frøkjær through on goal and, instead of shooting, the Dane opted to backheel into the path of Potts, who sent an effort wide under pressure from Matty James.

PNE would go on to find a deserved equaliser, though, in the 86th minute as substitute Duane Holmes laid the ball off to Keane who, with his back to goal, showed great skill to turn and fire into the bottom corner to earn a late point on the road.

Bristol City line-up: O’Leary; Tanner, Vyner, Dickie, Pring; James, Knight (King, 86), Weimann (Willams, 23); Cornick (Sykes, 69), Wells (Conway, 69), Bell (Mehmeti, 86). Subs not used: Wiles-Richards, Roberts, Knight-Lebel, Araoye.

PNE line-up: Woodman; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Potts, McCann, Ledson (Holmes, 72), Best (Woodburn, 82); Browne, Frøkjær; Keane. Subs not used: Cornell, Bauer, Rodriguez-Gentile, Whatmough, Taylor, Leigh, Mawene.

Referee: Mr D Webb.

Attendance: 23,313 (1,357 PNE fans).

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