Pre Season Friendly v Preston North End

DUNFERMLINE 3 PRESTON 3 Date: 23/07/02

Fixture: Pre Season Friendly

DUNFERMLINE (1) 3 PRESTON NORTH END (2) 3

This was a match where Dunfermline came back from being under the cosh to take control and score three goals before a simple mistake from keeper Derek Stillie put the "friendly" back into the pre season.

Stillie was the only change in the starting line up from Saturday`s match at Methil.¬ Although he could hardly have been expected to save the first two English goals his 81st minute pass to the opposition gifted the equaliser and saw the Pars live dangerously to share the spoils.

Preston manager Craig Brown said his international teams only lost three goals on three occasions that he was in charge and assured his supporters that "it won`t happen again."

For the Nationwide Division One side this was their first competitive match.¬ They had taken in a closed doors match on Sunday against Carlisle on their route north to train at St Andrews. They started well but fell right out of the game in the second half when Dunfermline should have scored two or three more than they did.

Playing towards the Norrie McCathie Stand, Dunfermline`s shots on goal were extremely limited in the first half but Scott Thomson had the first from a free kick in the opening minutes.¬ Stevie Crawford played his way around the defence in the fifth minute to send in a cross from the left that whizzed through the six yard box without any connection.

Rankine got a shot in for the visitors but the deflection off Scott walker was easily collected by Stillie.¬ Richard Cresswell was to cause havoc in the Dunfermline defence for the first half hour and he rounded Walker to send a cross through the penalty box.¬ At the other end Brewster`s challenge sent Gary Dempsey through the middle but his shot was too soon and too far out to trouble David Lucas who leisurely gathered it.

In the 13th minute CRESSWELL latched on to a lob from the centre circle to again round Walker and perfectly finish. 1-0 Preston.

Crawford won a corner three minutes later and Lee Bullen was clearly held down as he attempted to rise to McLeish`s corner but Referee Rowbotham is still sharpening his performance up yet as well.¬ So there was no penalty and no goal when Bullen almost immediately won the ball back and he headed across for Walker but he was unlucky not to get his head on the ball to score.

Brewster sent in a ball from the left that Edwards spun around on the far side of his own six yard box and did just enough to stop any Pars players getting to it.¬ Stillie saved from Cresswell after Gregan had picked out Skora and then a well timed tackle from Andrius Skerla prevented Cresswell making it two nil.¬

The home support were delighted to have Ricardo Fuller in the Preston team and booed his every touch.¬ The Jambo of last season provided a fine pass in the 21st minute for Cresswell again to threaten with but thankfully his shot went wide right.

The Lancashire men`s pressure paid off however in the 28th minute when Cresswell went deep on the left to despatch a good ball that GREGAN met to guide in at the near post.

The Pars won a couple of corners but Thomson header six feet wide left was the nearest that came from them.¬ Cresswell meantime was presented with a stray pass from Jason Dair and the home support were happy to groan at Fuller for hitting the shot wide to the left of target.

Having been well out of things the Pars pegged Preston back in the second minute of time added at the end of the half.¬ Another McLeish corner from the right looped over the jumping Thomson to WALKER.¬ The big defender took the ball down and slotted it right footed in at the left goalpost.

Half Time 1-2

Sean Kilgannon came on at the break for goalscorer Walker. Things immediately looked brighter (if they possibly could given the new bright all tangerine strips).¬ Gary Mason was first to give Brewster shooting practice with an effort that was wide.¬ ¬

Dempsey, Mason and Kilgannon were producing some nice touches that gave the defence some respite.¬ In 56 minutes Lucas clutched a Brewster header from a Dair cross but a Kilgannon cross from the left two minutes later gave BREWSTER the kind of headed chance that he just does not miss.

Skipper Thomson pushed forward and put over a cross from the right that dropped for McLeish but his powerful shot was blocked. Things got even better though in the 61st minute when BREWSTER grabbed a second heading yet another cross to put the Pars ahead.

The Scots should have increased their lead because they created many chances thereafter.¬ Kilgannon`s pass to Brewster eventually just eluded Crawford and McLeish`s long sweeping ball should have been converted by Hampshire but Murdock headed behind.¬ Dair had a good shot and Hampshire was out of luck in the 72nd minute with his effort.

Brewster headed a Kilgannon cross over the bar and in the 79th minute Hampshire hit a pelter on target but Lucas miraculously deflected it¬ over the bar.¬ Two minutes later there was a a mix up as Skerla watched Stillie, unchallenged, pass straight to Preston`s HEALY.¬ The youngster fired into the vacant goals from the edge of the box.¬

David Healy then hit the inside of the left goalpost as Preston woke from the dead to finish the stronger.¬ So three all and a good entertaining friendly.¬ Brewster had to be Man of the Match with a brace on his home debut but Dempsey too had a good opening performance.

Craig Brown and his assistant Billy Davies have a good squad in what was witnessed in this match and Preston`s progress should bring some Scottish pride to the Nationwide League in the absence of the Old Firm.¬




Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm