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Match Report: Preston North-End Reserves 0-3 Barrow AFC B

14 November 2023

Club News

Match Report: Preston North-End Reserves 0-3 Barrow AFC B

14 November 2023

Jason Taylor’s men secured another impressive victory, making it three wins out of four this season having most recently beaten Preston North-End Reserves 3-0 at Springfields.

After an end-to-end first half, Sam Bellis put the Bluebirds into the lead heading into the break and that goal seemed to bring about a more confident second-half display from the Bluebirds, who eventually ran out 3-0 winners thanks to second-half strikes from Sean Etaluku and Ged Garner.

However, despite the impressive score-line the Bluebirds could have been one goal down in the opening minute of the game when Josh Seary rattled the woodwork with a powerful drilled effort from eight yards out.

Seven minutes later the home side caused Barrow problems once again after they threaded a decent ball through to Kitt Nelson who smashed a half volley from the edge of the area towards goal, but Josh Lillis did very well to tip it over the bar.

Barrow finally managed to create their first opportunity of the afternoon in the 14th minute when Garner whipped an incredible corner into the area which fell perfectly onto the head of Courtney Duffus who flicked the ball towards goal, but it was heroically cleared off the line.

Taylor’s men certainly grew in confidence as the half went on and Bellis was very unfortunate to have not given the Bluebirds the lead in the 29th minute. Skipper for the day Dean Campbell played a sensational ball through the North-End defence to Etaluku, who dinked a ball across goal to Bellis but he could only find the keeper’s arms.

After a quiet next 10 minutes from both sides, Lillis was once again called into action in the 39th minute when he showed superb reactions to push away Nelson’s volley from an Ellis Horan corner.

Just as the half seemed to be ending goalless, Ben Whitfield tried his luck from distance with a curled effort and it was spilled by the keeper into the path of Bellis, who made no mistake as he tapped the ball into the empty net.

After a lively start to the second half, the hosts had a nice opportunity to level matters in the 49th minute after they were awarded an in-direct free kick six yards out from goal. After minutes of waiting, the ball was eventually laid off to Seary who blasted his shot towards the roof of the net, but Etaluku was brave and made a great block.

After that chance, Barrow seemed destined to put the game to bed and had a number of fine opportunities to double their lead. Eventually, they did just that in the 68th minute after the Bluebirds broke quickly on the break and substitute Owen Bray squared the ball across the box for fellow youngster Etaluku to blast the ball home.

Only six minutes later the Bluebirds added to their lead after Lillis produced a pinpoint ball from a dropkick through the Preston defence to Whitfield on the right wing. He then dinked the ball to the back post where Garner came steaming in to loop his header beyond the keeper and into the goal.

Heading into the final minutes of the game Bellis seemed destined to get his brace and found himself in a couple of great positions, but was denied by two superb stops by Tommy Davis. Arguably the best of the two stops came in the 86th minute when Bellis was played in on goal on the right side of the area before blasting a low shot towards goal which was well stopped by the legs of Davis.

Bellis’ late chances proved to be the final two of the match as Taylor’s men ran out deserved 3-0 winners however, credit to the young Preston Team as the lads were certainly made to work hard for their win.

Bluebirds XI: Lillis, Reeve, Feely, Mazeed, Etaluku, Worrall (Bray 60), Campbell ©, Whitfield, Duffus, Bellis, Garner.

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