Saints win comfortably at Preston

By SFC Media Sat 20 Jul Pre-season Friendly
Photo by James Bridle | Shane Long & Danny Ings
Sat 20 Jul 3PM
Friendlies
Preston North End
1
Southampton
3
Bodin [18']
Ings [11' 45'] Vokins [82']
Referee: Mr P Bankes | Venue: Deepdale | Attendance: 4,767

Southampton registered their first win of pre-season after Danny Ings’s first-half brace laid the foundations for a deserved victory at Preston.

There was a large slice of luck about Saints’ opener, as North End goalkeeper Connor Ripley rifled a clearance against Ings and watched the ball loop back over his head, but the hosts did not take long to draw level through Billy Bodin’s crisp strike.

Saints were the more creative force throughout, with Ryan Bertrand a constant menace down the left, and it was his cross that picked out Ings to head home in the final minute of the half.

The visitors continued to carry the greater attacking threat after the interval, and it was Bertrand’s 19-year-old replacement, Jake Vokins, who put the result beyond doubt by finishing off a move he started himself, eight minutes from time.

Having started the SCR Altach friendly with a back four, Ralph Hasenhüttl switched to a three-man defence at Deepdale, made up of Jan Bednarek, Jack Stephens and Wesley Hoedt.

Dutchman Hoedt and goalkeeper Angus Gunn were the only two starters not to feature against the Austrians last time out.

That day, it took just 116 seconds for Saints to make the breakthrough, and they threatened to go even quicker when Bertrand charged through to force a first save from Ripley.

Michael Obafemi in action in the first half at Deepdale

Bertrand, slightly more advanced as a wing-back, was involved again soon after when his inviting cross was turned in by Shane Long from close range, only for the Irishman to be flagged offside.

Whilst pre-season games can often be drab affairs, this one was end to end, and Bednarek had a moment of alarm when his header back to Gunn fell short, allowing Tom Barkhuizen to steal in, but the angle proved too tight for the striker after rounding Gunn.

It was in bizarre fashion that Saints made the breakthrough in the 11th minute, though Hasenhüttl would have been encouraged by the willingness of Ings, who got his body in the way of Ripley’s clearance, leaving the keeper watching in horror as the ball looped over his head and nestled in the back of his net.

Saints’ pressing from the front might have earned a second goal when Long intercepted a backpass, but Ings’s square pass for Bertrand was fractionally behind his teammate, who would have had a simple finish.

Instead Preston got themselves back on level terms through some individual brilliance from Bodin. 

Turning sharply after receiving a throw-in, the winger wriggled his way into the box and dispatched an unerring left-footed shot that flew past Gunn’s outstretched right hand. 

The entertainment continued, with Saints carrying a real goal threat. Cédric was proving a useful outlet down the right, supplying Long and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg with headed chances, before Michael Obafemi latched on to Ings’s pass and went eye to eye with Ripley, who stuck out a foot to deny him.

Danny Ings heads home his second from Ryan Bertrand's cross

Preston could have few arguments when Saints went in at the interval back in front, as Ings headed home his second just before the break.

Keeping the ball alive from a set-piece, Will Smallbone found corner taker Bertrand in space wide on the left, whose precise cross was powered home by Ings from eight yards.

Rather than change his entire XI at half time, as he did in Austria, Hasenhüttl gave his starters at least an hour before introducing Nathan Redmond, Josh Sims, Stuart Armstrong and Harrison Reed as his first replacements from the bench. 

Two of those were nearly combining to goalscoring effect minutes later, as Armstrong overlapped Bertrand and drilled the ball across the six-yard box, but Sims could not provide the finishing touch.

If Ripley had told himself that Saints’ opener was a one-off, he was nearly proved wrong when one of his defenders whacked the ball against the shins of Armstrong, causing the Preston keeper to backpedal and prevent a miraculous repeat.

Bertrand was heavily involved all day in an attacking sense, and threatened to finish off a fine team move involving Armstrong, Redmond and Cédric, before shooting wide on his right foot.

Instead it was his replacement, teenage left-back Vokins, who enjoyed a moment to savour by tapping in Redmond’s late cutback – just reward for the endeavour he had shown to get up in support of the forwards just ten minutes after coming on.

Gunn, rarely tested at the other end, was called upon to dive bravely at the feet of Sean Maguire as time ran out for Preston to stage a late revival.

Preston North End

25
Connor Ripley (GK)
4
Ben Pearson
5
Tom Clarke (C)
Joe Rafferty (79′)
6
Ben Davies
8
Alan Browne
11
Daniel Johnson
14
Jordan Storey
16
Andrew Hughes
24
Sean Maguire
29
Tom Barkhuizen
Louis Moult (72′)
39
Billy Bodin
Graham Burke (79′)
1
Declan Rudd
3
Josh Earl
9
Louis Moult
10
Josh Harrop
12
Paul Gallagher
15
Joe Rafferty
17
Josh Ginnelly
18
Ryan Ledson
19
Graham Burke
20
Jayden Stockley
21
Patrick Bauer
23
Paul Huntington
44
Brad Potts

Southampton

28
Angus Gunn (GK)
2
Cédric
5
Jack Stephens
6
Wesley Hoedt
7
Shane Long
Josh Sims (61′)
9
Danny Ings
Nathan Redmond (61′)
15
Jan Bednarek
Christoph Klarer (72′)
19
Will Smallbone
20
Michael Obafemi
Stuart Armstrong (61′)
21
Ryan Bertrand
Jake Vokins (72′)
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
Harrison Reed (61′)
41
Harry Lewis
17
Stuart Armstrong
18
Harrison Reed
22
Nathan Redmond
25
Christoph Klarer
26
Thomas O'Connor
27
Josh Sims
29
Tyreke Johnson
30
Jake Vokins
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