North End have moved to within four points of safety thanks to a brilliant Keith Treacy brace against Sheffield United.Advertisement
This match between the Championship’s bottom two sides was always going to be a close one but thanks to PNE’s left winger the hosts managed to shade it.
After the second half ended goalless Treacy scored two in the second half and although Jordan Slew pulled one back for the visitors Nathan Ellington scored PNE’s third in the last minute.
North End were unchanged from the side that drew with Doncaster but Sheffield United’s starting line up raised a few eyebrows.
Three of the back four as well as Slew up front are aged 21 or under and the squad as a whole was very inexperienced.
PNE started the game well and both Chris Brown and Iain Hume had efforts on goal but after 10 minutes the Blades gained a foothold in the game.
The rest of the first half was quiet and both sides looked scared of conceding the opening goal.
The best chance of the half fell to Brown but he mishit his shot from six yards out and Steve Simonsen made an easy save.
The first period was disappointing but the second was anything but as both sides went for the win.
Sheffield United had the first chance of the half but Bjorn Helge Riise somehow managed to hit the woodwork with PNE’s defence nowhere.
North End made the most of their luck and took the lead after 55 minutes.
Keith Treacy’s crossed free kick from the right missed everyone and went straight into the back of the net.
North End started to control the game and with 68 minutes gone Treacy took a corner that was cleared straight back to him. He took it into the box and drilled it into the top corner.
Treacy was on loan at the Blades in 2009 and they would have dearly loved to have him on their books today.
PNE’s two goal cushion didn’t last long as Slew ran at the defence and beat Iain Turner from distance.
The Blades sensed that they had a chance to grab a point and came close to doing so when Matthew Lowton’s shot hit the post and went wide.
Sheffield United threw men forward looking for the equaliser but were caught short at the back when Hume put substitute Nathan Ellington through on goal allowing the on loan forward to score his second PNE goal.
Crystal Palace lost 2-1 to Scunthorpe leaving PNE four points off safety with four games to go.
North End face Millwall away next Saturday hoping to keep the pressure on the teams directly above them.
PNE: Turner 7, Nicholson 6, Khumalo 6, Morgan 6, Jones 6, Johnson 6 (Coutts 7), Carter 6, Ashbee 6, Treacy 9(Ellington 7), Brown 7 (Russell n/a), Hume 6. Unused subs: Lonergan, Wright, Devine, Hayes.
Sheffield United: Simonsen 6, Lowry 6 (Bogdanovic 6), Collins 6, Lowton 7, Maguire 6, Quinn 5, Montgomery 6, Riise 5 (Philliskirk 6), Doyle 5 (Williamson 6), Henderson 5, Slew 7. Unused subs: Aksalu, Kozluk, McAllister, Harriott.