Preston North End 4
Yeovil Town 3
Deepdale saw Preston North End (PNE) edge a seven goal thriller as they beat Yeovil Town 4-3 to go back into the League 1 play-off places.
Having gone three games without even conceding a goal expectations were high as the teams walked out. However Yeovil, who have only won once this season ensured that North End wouldn’t have it all their own way.
Goals from Jamie Proctor, Barry Nicholson and Neil Mellor saw PNE show off their attacking prowess however a late penalty from Yeovil’s Steven MacLean ensured a nervy final 10 minutes.
North End got off to the perfect start when Proctor finished off a well worked free-kick. Graham Alexander played the ball to Neil Mellor who fed his strike partner before he turned his marker and fired home from 12 yards off the underside of the crossbar.
Yeovil had the better of chances after the goal, and after a few shots which were fired straight at goalkeeper Iain Turner, equalised through Anthony Edgar.
Winger Alan O’Brien was given plenty of time to put in a cross from the left wing, and picked out Edgar who volleyed home under Turner’s dive.
Both sides were restricted to shots from distance for the remainder of the first half, with Neil Mellor going closest for North End with a header that bounced just wide.
The second period started the same way as the first; with a goal inside the first five minutes.
Paul Parry put in a low cross which was collected by Proctor. With his back to goal he rolled it back to Nicholson who side footed home to make it 2-1.
North End continued to dominate the early exchanges of the second half and their pressure paid off when they made it 3-1 just before the hour mark when Mellor headed home from Iain Hume’s knock down from a long ball.
The home side looked home and dry and had two great chances to make it 4-1 with Nicholson going close and Proctor hitting the post from six yards.
Five minutes after Mellor’s goal Yeovil pulled one back when MacLean’s speculative effort from long range was spilled by Turner who let the ball bounce off his shoulder and in.
However PNE restored their two goal advantage when Mellor grabbed his second, firing across the face of goal from 15 yards before MacLean also got a brace with a penalty after Clarke Carlisle was penalised for handball.
The penalty ensured a nervous finale with both sides looking for another goal. Mellor hit the post before Edgar was put through one-on-one with Turner, but the Preston keeper made up for his blunder by brilliantly smothering the shot.
That turned out to be the final action of a great match and a breathtaking second half which sees North End go fourth in League One.
Manager Phil Brown admitted the game was great for the neutrals and praised Yeovil for their fight back.
“I was quite pleased with how we played in the second half and I think the game should have been out of sight,” he said.
“You have to give Yeovil full credit, they have come back into the game and it has taken brave save at the end to guarantee the three points instead of just the one.”
Preston North End: 21 Turner; 3 McLaughin; 5 Carlisle; 7 Hume (16 Mayor); 8 Coutts (15 Barton); 9 Proctor; 10 Nicholson (4 Ashbee); 12 McLean; 17 Parry; 22 Alexander (C); 33 Mellor
Unused substitutes: 11 Tsoumou; 25 Arestidou
Goals: Proctor 5; Nicholson 49; Mellor 59 and 70
Yeovil Town: 1 Steer; 2 Ayling; 3 Jones; 5 Huntington; 8 Upson; 9 MacLean; 10 Williams (18 Agard); 11 Edgar; 14 Ehmer; 17 O’Brien (15 Gilbert); 20 Wotton (C) (6 Blizzard)
Unused substitutes: 19 Haynes Brown; 24 Stewart
Goals: Edgar 31; MacLean 64 and 81 (pen)
Referee: Mr C Boyeson
Image credit to Grace Cappy