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19:01 3rd August 2013

Solid Start

Preston North End 0

Wolves 0

An incident studded game between two of the game’s founder members somehow finished without a goal and few would argue that a draw wasn’t a fair result between teams that were fully committed to attack. 

The Bill Shankley Stand was a sea of gold and black as Wolves took to the field. Samuel Ricketts and Lee Evans made their debuts for the club and Leigh Griffiths made his first League start.

Preston kicked-off attacking the away end they started strongly with Carl Ikeme having to take a Lee Holmes free-kick from wide on the right before the same player took the ball to the by-line and overhit his cross.

Corners from John Welsh and Holmes were cleared before the first Wanderers threat came when Bakary Sako headed a Björn Sigurdarson cross back into the heart of the area where a defender stuck out a boot to clear.

In the 11th minute Keith Keane fouled Matt Doherty on the Wolves right. Sako’s free-kick was headed in the air by Tom Clarke forcing goalkeeper Declan Rudd to punch clear.

The first real goal attempt for either side fell to Sako who turned Clarke inside out before hitting a low shot that Rudd turned behind at his near post. Griffiths’s corner was cleared.

Sako let fly from 25-yards but his effort was too high then when Richard Stearman and Kevin Davies tangled outside the Wolves box, the free-kick went the way of the Preston striker whilst Stearman needed treatment. Ikeme easily dealt with Holmes’s lofted free-kick.

Stearman returned to the field after treatment but he was clearly struggling and was replaced by George Elokobi in the 32nd minute. 

Five minutes later, it too k a last ditch clearance from Welsh to thwart Griffiths.  Ricketts’ inswinging corner was pushed out by Rudd and when Griffiths volleyed the ball back towards goal, Welsh cleared off the line.

Preston responded with a cross from Holmes that was headed over by Welsh from the middle of a congested area.

In first half stoppage time another inswinging corner from Ricketts glanced off the face of the crossbar before being cleared.

Half-Time: Preston 0 Wolves 0

Within a minute of the restart Davies collided with Ikeme as the two contested a long though pass. The ball rebounded inches wide of the post before Ikeme received lengthy treatment after picking up a knock in the incident.

The ball ran away from Griffiths to Rudd as the striker just managed to get a foot to Danny Batth’s driven through pass, before a bizarre moment saw Holmes not far off scoring a spectacular own goal. 

The Preston man was a good 20-yards out when he hit a tremendous volley that flew narrowly wide with Rudd looking on in amazement.

There was another chance for Wolves in the 56th minute as Evans sent a volley through the home area. The ball hit Bailey Wright and could have gone anywhere but, in the event, it went behind for an unproductive corner.

From a Welsh corner at the other end, Huntington got in a header that was cleared upfield to Sako who tested Rudd with an angled drive that the keeper cut out at his near post.

David Davis was booked after clipping Buchanan before Kenny Jackett was forced to make two further changes in quick succession. First Dave Edwards and then Elokobi pulled up and they were replaced by Jake Cassidy and Kevin Foley respectively.

The referee had a perfect view and he rejected penalty appeals when Holmes went down under a challenge from Doherty and, when play swept upfield, Paul Huntington earned himself a yellow card for obstructing Griffiths.

After Holmes drove a cross right through the Wolves goalmouth, he then went into the book for a foul on Sako. 

Five frenetic minutes of stoppage time failed to produce a winner and in the dying seconds Evans was yellow carded for pulling back Holmes. 

Batth’s part in helping his team to a point thanks to his shackling of dangerous veteran striker Davies, is worthy of mention but this was a fine team display which promises much in the coming months. 

Preston: Rudd, Keane, Huntington, Clarke, Wright, Humphrey (Hayhurst 78), Wroe (Hume 88), Davies, Holmes, Buchanan, Welsh (capt).

Unused subs: Stuckmann, Laird, Garner, King, Mousinho.

Booking: Huntington (75 – obstruction).

Wolves: Ikeme Doherty, Ricketts (capt), Evans, Stearman (Elokobi 32) (Foley 70), Batth, Sigurdarson, Edwards (Cassidy 64), Griffiths, Davis, Sako.

Unused subs: Hennessey, Price, McAlinden, Ismail.

Booking: Davis (62 – foul).

Referee: A. Haines.

Attendance: 16,593.


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.