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Match Reports

Preston North End 2 Burnley 3

Late Dwight McNeil goal gives Clarets victory at Deepdale in ideal send-off

23 July 2018

Aaron Lennon scored for the second game running as the Clarets completed their public preparations for their return to Europe with an entertaining win, secured by Dwight McNeil’s late strike.

With manager Sean Dyche having to balance the demands of the start of Burnley’s Europa League campaign with the Premier League kick-off in almost three weeks’ time, he utilised 22 players at Deepdale as the Clarets came from behind to seal victory with second-half goals - and the  first at senior level - from young substitutes McNeil and Dan Agyei.

The starting XI were given 55 minutes, possibly as a pointer towards the first leg of the Clarets’ second qualifying round tie in the Europa League at Aberdeen on Thursday night.

But with a number of senior men included among the widespread changes early in the second half, Dyche gave as many players as possible the chance to continue to build up their fitness with a potentially hectic fixture programme, should progress be made in Europe.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was among those in the crowd as he took the opportunity to check out the Scots’ opponents.

And he saw a decent test for the Clarets against the Championship side, which had drawn 2-2 with West Ham last Saturday as they build-up towards their season opener against QPR in the first weekend in August.

North End started well and went in front after 22 minutes when Sean Maguire picked out Josh Harrop to steer a low shot into the bottom corner.

Tom Heaton dealt efficiently with everything else he had to do in the first half and the Clarets gradually cranked up their attacking threat to be level by half-time.

Sam Vokes and Lennon had both gone close, with Vokes seeing an effort blocked on the line by Paul Huntington, and Lennon being denied by Declan Rudd from the follow-up.

But when Lennon was presented with a similar chance just a minute after Burnley had gone behind, the winger made no mistake as Dyche's side was rewarded for some insisive attacking play in which they always posed a threat from the wide positions.

This time Jeff Hendrick was the one to see a goalbound effort blocked and Lennon pounced on the rebound to lash home a superb strike.

Hendrick went close himself with a chip onto the roof of the net and Ben Mee glanced a header just wide as Burnley looked to go in front before half-time.

And they did complete the turnaround after 72 minutes, following the widespread changes.

Agyei had seen one headed chance saved earlier on, but this time gave Rudd no chance with a thumping header from a Jon Walters cross.

This time, however, Burnley were the ones to relinquish the lead quickly as Preston hit back to level when Callum Robinson capitalised on hesitation in the Clarets’ defence to guide a shot past substitute keeper Adam Legzdins.

Legzdins then did save well from Shaun Maguire and Robinson - and the Clarets had the final word six minutes from the end of an entertaining game when McNeil again showed his potential with a classy left-foot finish curled home on the volley to send Burnley north of the border on a winning note.

Burnley: Heaton (Legzdins HT), Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Gudmundsson, Cork, Westwood, Lennon, Hendrick, Vokes.

Substitutes: all used after 55 minutes: Taylor, Koiki, Goodridge, Walters, Wells, Bardsley, Long, McNeil, Agyei, Dunne.

Preston: Rudd, Woods (Fisher 70), Huntington, Storey, Hughes, Pearson (Ledson 60), Johnson (Moult 70), Harrop (Browne 70), Burke (Bodin 63), Robinson, Maguire (Horgan 80). Substitutes: Maxwell, Earl, Clarke, Davies, Browne, Gallagher.

Referee: Peter Bankes

Attendance: 4,934 (Burnley 872)


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