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Match Reports

Match Report: Morecambe U19s 2 PNE U19s 1

20 December 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: Morecambe U19s 2 PNE U19s 1

20 December 2023

Preston North End U19s suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat to Morecambe in a competitive game at the top of the Youth Alliance League.

With the fixture being an away game but held at Springfields, Felipe Rodriguez-Gentile’s penalty kept it even for the Lilywhites at half-time, but the Shrimps went on to secure victory in the second period.

The first five minutes of the game saw league leaders North End put in a dominant display. Notably, an excellent cross from Ethan Eccleston met Kacper Pasiek in the box, and his powerful volley forced a save from ‘keeper Alfie Scales.

Just a quarter of an hour later, Theo Mawene saw a curling effort go just shy of the left post. 

However, PNE were awarded a penalty in the 26th minute and Rodriguez-Gentile stepped up to comfortably rifle the ball down the middle of Scales’ goal. 

Morecambe piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser, and Tommy Davis provided a vital save by pushing the ball over the crossbar to deny them doing so just three minutes after the opener. 

But, just shy of half-time, the Shrimps got their leveller as Lennon Dobson struck the underneath of the crossbar and it bounced into the back of the net. 

Going into the second half it was all to play for, but no real chances could be created by either team as time ticked on. 

That was until the 70th minute when Matthew Williams was able to slot the ball beyond Davis to put Morecambe in front for the first time.

Ellis Horan tried his luck from the edge of the box in the 76th minute, but his effort floated just over the top right corner of goal. 

Despite efforts for an equaliser from the Lilywhites, the full-time whistle blew and Morecambe secured the victory to close the gap between themselves in second and North End.

Speaking after the game, coach Andy Fensome admitted the team didn’t play as well as they have recently, but the glimpses of a good performance were reassuring. 

Fenners said: “We lacked quality today; we let ourselves down. We put a lot of crosses into the box, and we missed chances that I’d probably expect us to score.

“I think we play good football at times. We get the ball wide, we deliver it into the box, but today we didn’t have the finishing touch.

“When you’re on top in games you’ve got to score and then control the game but we didn’t do that.

“We got the penalty, we got in front, but then we didn’t control the game because we didn’t pass the ball. 

“We asked the players to go out and pass the ball and keep control and move it, and we knew that they would come out and listen.

“They’re good at what they do at times and they huff and they puff and that’s how they got the goal, but we gave too many free-kicks and corners away and that brings pressure, so that’s probably why we conceded.

“Then in the second half I don’t think we passed the ball well enough to really create. We did create chances but not enough to go and finish the game.”

Defender Joe Blake was pleased with the team in the first half, and spoke of his breakthrough in the U19s squad as an U16.

He said: “I thought overall the quality in the first half was pretty good.

“I thought we dominated and there were a lot of chances to be taken, but I think if we’d have taken them we would’ve been pretty clear in the game and comfortable. 

“We shouldn’t have conceded and the second half I think getting a goal was the main focus but they made it into a scrappy game and we didn’t want to control it or slow it down.

“I’ve come into the club at quite a late stage. I signed in March this year and it was a short-term goal of mine to get into the U19s squad, and I think with the quality that I’ve shown over recent weeks I’ve started to grow into the game a bit.

“I think when I started playing my maturity levels weren’t quite there and I think the biggest boost was the FA Youth Cup start.

“That was a big one and I think the coaches putting trust in me really helps too.”

The win edges Morecambe closer to top of the table PNE, but with two games in hand and just four points behind, the league is shaping up to be incredibly competitive. 

Preston North End now see a period of three weeks without a game, with their next one being against Walsall on Saturday 6th January. 

PNE line-up: Davis, Blake, Pasiek, Horan, Wilkinson, McGhee, Eccleston, Khan (Goldsmith, 60), Wilson (Carroll, 71), T.Mawene, Rodriguez-Gentile. Subs not used: Banks, Tarry, Garrigan.

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