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Match Reports

Match Report: PNE 2 Sunderland 1

12 August 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: PNE 2 Sunderland 1

12 August 2023

Goals from summer signings Will Keane and Mads Frøkjær earned Preston North End a first victory of the Sky Bet Championship campaign against Sunderland.

Keane gave PNE a 25th-minute lead when he inadvertently deflected Frøkjær’s effort past the goalkeeper, before the visitors drew level through Jack Clarke six minutes later from the penalty spot.

North End then restored their advantage just short of the hour mark courtesy of Frøkjær’s first for the club and that was enough to secure all three points.

Ryan Lowe – who was back on the touchline following his ban – opted to go for the same starting XI which began the season with a 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate.

North End got off to a decent start at Deepdale as skipper Alan Browne whipped a vicious ball towards the near post looking for Keane, but defender Luke O’Nien just managed to get there first to head behind.

At the other end, it was Jordan Storey’s turn to come up with an important interception as Clarke looked to find a body in the middle after skipping past Brad Potts.

Ryan Ledson made two impressive blocks within a couple of seconds of each other to deny Dan Neil and Jobe Bellingham respectively, before Pierre Ekwah saw his 20-yard effort tipped over by Freddie Woodman.

PNE hadn’t hugely troubled the Sunderland goal but it was the hosts who went ahead in the 25th minute when Frøkjær’s strike from the edge of the area took a handy nick off of Keane, which wrongfooted Anthony Patterson and the ball snuck in.

That lead didn’t last too long, though, as Clarke levelled from the penalty spot in the 31st minute, after the pacey winger was brought down in the area by teenager Kian Best.

Early in the second half, Ekwah tried his luck from the best part of 30 yards, sending his low strike wide of goal, and from that point it was North End who built up some momentum, as Browne, Ali McCann and Potts all saw shots blocked, before Best sent an improvised effort just over the bar.

Frøkjær then deservedly put his new side ahead in the 59th minute when Browne’s through ball made its way to the Dane courtesy of a touch from Keane, and PNE’s No.10 made no mistake finishing past Patterson.

The Lilywhites had two close calls 15 minutes from time as Woodman produced a remarkable save to deny the lively Patrick Roberts from close range, before O’Nien then headed a corner a matter of centimetres wide.

Sunderland kept trying to get at the North End defence, especially through their pace out wide, but Ryan Lowe’s side stayed strong to hold on to their lead and make it four points from the opening two games of the league season.

PNE line-up: Woodman; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Potts, McCann (Holmes, 76), Ledson, Best (Whatmough, 79); Browne, Frøkjær (Woodburn, 86); Keane. Subs not used: Cornell, Cunningham, Bauer, Rodriguez-Gentile, Taylor, Leigh.

Sunderland line-up: Patterson; Himes, Ballard, O’Nien, Cirkin; Neil, Ekwah (Ba, 75); Roberts, Bellingham (Pritchard, 66), Clarke; Dack (Hemir, 66). Subs not used: Bishop, Huggins, Batth, Bennette, Triantis, Rigg.

Attendance: 19,892 (5,655 Sunderland fans).

Referee: Mr J Linington.

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