Academy Match Report: Preston North End 2-1 County

County fell to a late 2-1 defeat at the hands of Preston North End on Saturday in the EFL Youth Alliance League, despite Ashton Mee initially putting County in the lead.

Kingston Fligg could’ve put County ahead with a brilliant free kick. The midfielder bent the set piece around the wall, but the ball hit the outside of the post and went out for a goal kick.

Preston’s first foray forward nearly resulted in a goal. A low cross from the left found the feet of the forward, who turned inside the area and cannoned an effort off the crossbar, with the rebound being diverted over the bar.

Another cross from the left resulted in a chance for the hosts. A low, left-footed shot from inside the area forced Kane Bove into a great acrobatic save down to his left, forcing the ball behind for a corner.

County could’ve found themselves in front before the break. A floated corner to the back post found Jack Kenny in acres of space, but his header deflected off a Preston head and behind for another corner.

Another chance fell the way of the young Hatters, as Trialist pulled a fantastic low cross into the path of Luke Partington, but his side-footed strike sailed over the bar.

County came forward once again and came within inches of taking the lead. Mee drove through the Preston midfield and released Trialist, who unleashed a left footed strike, but saw his effort bounce off the inside of the post and somehow away from danger.

HALF-TIME: Preston North End 0-0 County

A perfect start to the half saw County lead through Mee. The young midfielder set Trialist away on the right, before his diverted cross landed at the feet of Mee, who curled a magnificent effort into the top corner.

The hosts could have levelled immediately. A powerful strike from distance was parried by Bove, where an oncoming forward looked poised to equalise but his effort from close range cleared the crossbar.

Mee and Trialist were linking up brilliantly and another intricate piece of play could’ve saw County double their lead. A perfectly-weighted pass saw Trialist with a shooting chance, but his strike was always rising and didn’t trouble the goalkeeper.

County saw another chance come and go. Joe Hillary found himself in acres of space inside the box and let fly, but the goalkeeper somehow diverted the ball behind for a corner just as the net looked set to bulge.

Despite County’s pressure, the hosts found an equaliser. A whipped corner into a dangerous area hit the back of Kenny and bounce into the bottom corner, leaving Bove wrong-footed.

Bove kept County level with a fantastic acrobatic save. A brilliant curling effort from distance looked destined to nestle into the top corner, but Bove made a terrific two-handed save to push the ball away from danger.

Mee came within inches of winning the game for County. Hillary headed a deep cross into the midfielder’s path, who took the ball down and fired an effort from close range, but the goalkeeper parried the ball behind for a corner.

It wasn’t to be for County, as Preston went ahead. An unfortunate slip at the back saw the hosts race through on goal and a composed, right-footed finish found the bottom corner, giving Preston the victory.

FULL-TIME: Preston North End 2-1 County

County XI: Bove; McMahon, Kenny, Scruton; Partington, Barry, Fligg, Mee, Hillary; Omoruyi, Trialist


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