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MATCH REPORT: Latics defeated in final pre-season friendly

28 July 2018

Latics ended their pre-season campaign with a defeat to Sky Bet Championship outfit Preston North End at Boundary Park.

Second-half goals from substitutes Louis Moult, Daryl Horgan and Paul Gallagher proved the difference between the two teams, but home boss Frankie Bunn will have been pleased with several elements of his side’s play, particularly in the first 45 minutes.

The hosts had much the better of the opening half, but Preston boss Alex Neil mixed things up with a host of substitutions at the break and saw his side improve greatly in the second period

Moult tapped home at the back post five minutes into the second period before Horgan doubled the advantage in spectacular style with a long-range effort.

Nonetheless, positives to take for Latics, who kick off the Sky Bet League Two campaign with a home game against MK Dons next week.

Latics, riding a good pre-season run, enjoyed a promising start and almost took the lead inside the first minute on a quick pitch made slick by a downpour just before kick-off.

An errant pass across the back was snapped up by Johan Branger-Engone, whose low ball in found Giles Coke, but the midfielder couldn’t get a clean touch on the ball and the chance was gone.

Preston, who finished two points shy of the Sky Bet Championship play-offs last season, were finding a committed Latics side a handful, with a trialist striker putting himself about and proving a focal point up front.

The visitors did threaten when Sean Maguire’s clipped cross found its way to the back post, but fortunately for the hosts the unmarked Darnell Fisher couldn’t capitalise from a great position.

The hosts would have notched a fantastic counter-attacking goal immediately afterwards had Branger-Engone’s excellent low ball not just missed Christopher Missilou’s outstretched boot.

The former was turning in an impressive performance, giving Fisher a torrid time on the Latics left and forcing the frustrated full-back to bring him down for a yellow card just before the half-hour.

At the other end, Iversen’s workload was proving light although the keeper was relieved to see Callum Robinson fail to connect with a dangerous Tom Barkhuizen cross on the edge of the six-yard box.

The teams went in level at the break, with Preston introducing no fewer than seven substitutes ahead of the second half. Latics, meanwhile, opted for just the two, with Andrew Taylor – injured in the first period – making way for Jamie Stott, while the trialist was replaced by Jonathan Benteke.

Preston’s changes seemed to do the trick as the visitors took the lead just five minutes into the second 45. Horgan got to the left-hand byline and delivered an inch-perfect cross for Moult to tap in at the far post.

There was little Iversen could have done to prevent it.

The on-loan Leicester stopper then did well to turn Moult’s ambitious effort over the bar – the Preston frontman taking aim with a floated effort from fully 30 yards way out of the left touchline.

But there was nothing he could do to keep out Preston’s second, a bullet of a shot from distance by Horgan which went in off the post with the keeper at full stretch.

Gevaro Nepumuceno attempted a response with a crisp drive which was well gathered by Preston keeper Chris Maxwell, who had replaced Rudd at the break.

Preston sub Gallagher saw a couple of chances go begging, firing over from 12 yards before being denied by a smart block by substitute Tom Hamer – on for Peter Clarke with 14 minutes left - who scrambled to get his body in the way inside the six-yard box.

Fellow substitute Stott had Latics’ best chance of the closing stages, getting above the Preston defence to glance a header goalwards which Maxwell did well to cover down low.

The visitors added a third through Gallagher a minute from time after being awarded a penalty following a scramble in the box. Iversen saved the striker's initial spot-kick but could do nothing to prevent the rebound being converted.

Oldham Athletic: Iversen, Hunt, Graham, Clarke (Hamer, 76), Taylor (Stott, 46), Nepomuceno, Missilou, Gardner, Branger-Engone, Coke (Maouche, 83), Trialist (Benteke, 46).

Subs not Used: De La Paz, Sheridan.

Goals: None

Preston North End: Rudd (Maxwell, 46), Fisher (Bodin, 70), Huntington (Clarke, 46), Davies, Hughes, Pearson (Woods, 70), Browne (Ledson, 46), Harrop (Horgan, 46), Robinson (Gallagher, 70), Maguire (Moult, 24), Barkhuizen (Burke, 46).

Subs not Used: Storey, Earl.


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