First Half Burnley Frustration For Neil
Preston slipped to a first pre-season defeat, in fact loss under Alex Neil, when Burnley went away from Deepdale with the Lancashire bragging rights on Tuesday.
A night when Irish eyes quite literally were smiling, as all three goalscorers were Irish and no less than 10 of the outfield players involved could play for the Republic of Ireland, which had seen assistant boss Roy Keane in attendance, Premier League side Burnley ran out 2-1 winners over North End.
Jon Walters headed in (from another Irishman) Robbie Brady's freekick to put Burnley ahead in the first half before another Brady delivery allowed Kevin Long to head the Clarets two up in the second half.
It was Preston that had the final say as Sean Maguire made an instant impact at Deepdale. The second half substitute, who came on at half time, went on a solo run before finishing past Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope.
Preston: Maxwell (Hudson, 75), Grimshaw, Earl (O`Connor, 46), Welsh (c) (Pearson, 46), Boyle, Spurr, Horgan, Johnson (Browne, 46), Pringle (Barkhuizen, 69), Doyle (Robinson, 75), Harrop (Maguire, 46). Subs not used: Vermijl, Cunningham, Meulensteen.
Burnley: Heaton (Pope, 46), Lowton (C Long, 81), Taylor (Ward, 71), Cork (Hendrick, 64), Vokes (Gray, 81), Brady (Barnes, 71), Berg Gudmundsson (Ulvestad, 75), Westwood (Defour, 64), Walters (Agyei, 81), K Long (Mee, 64), Anderson.
Attendance: 5,633 (1,755 Burnley fans)
Referee: Mr R Jones
Alex Neil was delighted with Maguire, who like fellow Cork City arrival Kevin O'Connor, made a second half debut and the forwards impact delighted the boss.
Neil feels if Maguire can have that impact after spending a day with the squad it bodes well for the future and, after a disappointing first half, he told the Official Website the second half was much better as a well organised side were stretched.
'I thought we got better second half and the introduction to Sean Maguire at half-time with his pace stretched the game for us. It was a great individual goal, I thought his pace in behind was excellent and I thought he showed why he's had such a good season so far this year. The lads been here one day and played really well based on that.'
Adding: 'They started playing deeper which opened up spaces meaning we could move the ball and create some decent chances. All in all, we're a little bit frustrated with the first half as I think we're better than that but I think second half was a lot better. I thought we played against a really good organised team that work extremely hard and have got some real physical presence in their side.'
He went on to talk about a physical presence and how this helped Burnley as 'eight or nine players over six foot' compared to three or four at Preston showed something that's lacking so Neil feels that 'maybe something we need to look at.'
Preston now have one more pre-season outing to come at Fleetwood on Friday when North End head to Highbury.
Neil said: 'Fleetwood is going to be a crucial game for us to help us be prepared for the following week - but I think you can see that the lads are in great shape, the fitness levels are good, it's just a case of match sharpness now.'