Bamber Bridge 0 - Preston North End 7
PNE provide a stern test for Brig in the Gerry Lawson Memorial Trophy.
Preston North End ran out 0-7 winners at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium on a sweltering hot afternoon under the Lancashire sunshine.
Prior to the game there was a minute’s applause for Walter Crowe, who sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago – Walter was a hugely popular figure at the club and the father of BBFC Director of Football, Neil Crowe.
It was a hard 90-minutes of graft for Neil Reynolds’ men who, despite the five-league gap between the two teams, competed well and were left to feel that perhaps the final score line was harsh.
North End’s visit was the first pre-season friendly for both sides ahead of the 2018/19 season, but the Lilywhites came into the game that bit readier having been in full training for the past two weeks.
Brig went into the game against the Championship outfit, who finished 7th last season, on the back of three training sessions so it was always going to be an uphill task against a well drilled PNE who will have promotion in their sights for the coming season.
Gerry Lawson's daughters present Preston North End Manager Alex Neil with the Gerry Lawson Memorial Trophy.
It was new signing Graham Burke that set the ball rolling early doors for Alex Neil’s men, striking the ball home from the right side of the box into the bottom left corner.
Billy Bodin then doubled the advantage just shy of the 15-minute mark, when he drilled home the loose ball with a clean strike from close range.
It got better for the North End, when Sean Maguire got in on the act – the Irishman found himself one-on-one with Lloyd Rigby and kept a cool head to slide the ball into the back of the net.
Brig did well to weather the storm for the next fifteen minutes, but on the half-hour mark Maguire had his second after Horgan picked out the striker with a cross that the number-24 latched onto and slotted home.
After that goal the hosts came desperately close to pulling a goal back.
Hyuga Tanner set himself and struck a wicked volley goalward that Declan Rudd did superbly well to react to and push behind for a corner.
From the corner, Brig captain Matt Lawlor rose the highest, but his header was directed just wide of the right post.
Despite an encouraging period, it was PNE who found the net again next, with Maguire burying a cross from the left into the middle of the net on the volley.
HALF TIME: Bamber Bridge 0-5 PNE
Alex Neil sent a whole new 11 out for the second half, as the Lilywhites usually do.
Neil Reynolds’ men started the second half well and kept chances for PNE at a premium, until a lovely curled finish from Louis Moult made it six on the hour mark.
Both sides had water breaks in both halves, which shows the intensity of the conditions the Brig lads were playing in.
Josh Harrop hit the bar from the penalty spot but made up for his miss with ten minutes to play when he rattled the ball into the back of the net after a mazy run.
Brig gave a more-than decent account of themselves, especially in the second half against a side that is fighting to play football amongst the giants of the English game.
For Reno and the boys it will get crucial fitness and game time into legs and they will rest up and get ready to go again on Tuesday evening when they welcome Morecambe to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Match reporter: George Hodgson (@ghodgsonsport)
The full gallery of match photos is available HERE.