MORECAMBE found themselves second best to a skilful and energetic Preston side comprised mainly of triallists and young reserve team players at the Globe Arena on Wednesday night.
In a match marking midfielder Stewart Drummond’s testimonial, the Shrimps suffered their heaviest pre-season defeat yet showed flashes of neat play and created enough chances, including a missed penalty, to have made the result a lot closer.
It was the best of the trial players looking to impress PNE boss Phil Brown, Jamaican forward Keammar Daley, who put the visitors ahead just after the half hour mark, tricking his way past two defenders before flicking the ball over Barry Roche with a neat finish.
Daley’s trickery was too much for the Shrimps defence on a couple of occasions in the first half and he was at the heart of PNE’s best attacks.
But The Shrimps made inroads of their own and both Phil Jevons, with a scissor kick just wide, and Gary McDonald with a close-range volley that was hit straight at keeper David Lucas, almost brought them level before the break.
Indeed there was enough in Morecambe’s first half performance to suggest they were capable of getting back into the game just as they did so well in their previous home fixture against Derby County on Friday.
So it was something of a surprise when PNE started the second half with such gusto, catching the home side - and substitute Andy Parrish in particular – on the hop, Jamie Procter robbing the defender in possession before weaving into the box and unleashing an unstoppable strike for the second on 48 minutes.
Just two minutes later and Morecambe had a real chance to halve the deficit when Gary Hunter was brought tumbling to the ground by Bailey Wright and Phil Jevons stepped up to take the resultant penalty. But German sub keeper, Thorsten Stuckman guessed correctly and dived to his left to palm the spot kick away.
That was as close as it came for Man of the Match Drummond’s men who carved out another couple of half chances for young Dan Parkinson and Izak Reid but eventually saw their fate sealed by a thundering 20-yard 80th minute volley from PNE skipper George Miller to make the result a convincing one for Phil Brown’s young side.
Morecambe take a team to Southport on Saturday, then host a Man Utd XI on Monday night, August 1, followed by a Tuesday trip to AFC Fylde before starting their 2011/12 League Two season at home to Barnet on Saturday, August 6.
Morecambe: Roche, Charnock, Fenton, Haining, Wilson, Reid, Drummond, Hunter, McDonald, Jevons, Carlton. Subs: Fleming (McDonald 40), Alessandra (Jevons 64), Parkinson (Hunter 64), Culshaw (Charnock 81), McGee (Drummond 90), Routledge, Parrish, McGee, Breen.
PNE: Lucas, Leather, Devine, Wright, Jordan, Coutts, Miller, Linganzi, Daley, Proctor, Oper. Subs: Osobe (Oper 32), Stuckmann (Lucas 46), Middleton (Daley 60), Mayor (Coutts 60), James (Linganzi 68).
Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne and Wear)
Sponsors Man of the match: Stewart Drummond