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Match Reports

Match Report: PNE 2 Salford City 2 (2-4 On Penalties)

8 August 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: PNE 2 Salford City 2 (2-4 On Penalties)

8 August 2023

Preston North End were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in round one as Salford City progressed via a penalty shootout following an entertaining 2-2 draw.

Connor McLennan scored a first-half brace for the visitors to put the League Two side in a strong position, but Ben Woodburn pulled one back shortly before the break.

Duane Holmes then had his first PNE goal six minutes into the second period and, after numerous impressive saves from visiting goalkeeper Alex Cairns, the tie went to penalties.

Ryan Ledson and Mads Frøkjær both missed spot-kicks for the Lilywhites, while the Ammies netted their four to seal a place in round two of the competition.

Ryan Lowe opted to make eight changes from the opening day draw against Bristol City, with both Josh Seary and Kian Taylor making their professional bows, while there were seven home debuts handed out from the start.

The Lilywhites soon found themselves behind, though, after Luke Bolton found McLennan in the middle, who saw his first effort blocked by Seary before the forward found the top corner with the follow-up.

PNE grew into the game after that and Holmes – making his first start for the club – had two close calls. The US international firstly forced Cairns into making a smart save down to his right, and just a few moments later the midfielder so nearly got on the end of Seary’s cross, but he couldn’t quite make any meaningful contact.

Steve Mallan came close to slotting in a second for the visitors in the 38th minute, but he dragged his 20-yard effort just wide of goal.

However, from the resulting goal-kick played out from the back, Jack Whatmough inadvertently laid the ball into the path of McLennan who beat Cornell and found the bottom corner for his second of the evening.

North End managed to pull one back in the 44th minute through Woodburn who finished well past Cairns after a brilliantly disguised pass from Holmes into the 18-yard box.

After three half-time changes, a second goal arrived just six minutes in courtesy of the influential Holmes who did so well to nip in and intercept a ball out from the goalkeeper, and he calmly slotted under Cairns to draw level.

Salford’s No.1 was called into action again just moments after the restart to keep out Keane’s long-range effort and Cairns remarkably saved substitute Ali McCann’s header from just a few yards out.

There was nothing the goalkeeper could do about Keane’s fantastic header on the end of Best’s whipped cross from the left which found the back of the net, although the linesman’s flag was up for offside.

Substitute Frøkjær was next to be frustrated as Cairns saved well low to his right before a defensive interception then denied Keane’s rebound.

Out of nothing, Salford could have snatched the tie late on when Matt Smith headed down to Matty Lund, but the midfielder scuffed his effort wide from just a few yards out.

Cairns produced yet another top save in the first of six added minutes to deny Keane and that meant the tie would be decided on penalties.

Ledson missed North End’s first spot-kick and Frøkjær put the fourth wide, while the visitors scored all four of theirs to seal a place in the second round.

PNE line-up: Cornell; Storey (Hughes, 45), Bauer, Whatmough; Seary (Browne, 71), Leigh (McCann, 45), Taylor (Ledson, 45), Holmes (Frøkjær, 78), Best; Woodburn, Keane. Subs not used: Woodman, Lindsay, Rodriguez-Gentile, Mawene.

Salford City line-up: Cairns; Mariappa, Vassell, Tilt (Shephard, 72); Bolton (Lund, 8), Mallan, Watson (Ashley, 71), Garbutt; McAleny; Hendry (Smith, 71), McLennan (Bailey, 90+3). Subs not used: Wright, Berkoe, Dackers, Henderson.

Attendance: 6,790 (413 Salford City fans).

Referee: Mr T Reeves.

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