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REPORT: Stanley 3-3 Preston North End

Stanley Under-23s maintain their unbeaten league start as Owen Devonport scores a brace

31 January 2023

Accrington Stanley Under-23s maintained their unbeaten start to this season's Central League as a brace from Owen Devonport helped Ged Brannan and Andy Gray's side to a 3-3 draw at home to Preston North End.

Having defeated Fleetwood Town six days earlier, Brannan and Gray made four changes to their starting XI that saw goalkeeper Liam Isherwood, Oliver Patrick, Devonport and Brandon Gough all come into the side.

The visitors, who are also undefeated, broke the deadlock inside the opening 11 minutes of the game as Finlay Cross-Adair fired a near-post effort past Isherwood.

However, the Reds equalised just seven minutes later; with a Jack Nolan cross finding Devonport and his header then looping over James Pradic and into the back of the net.

The game's third goal came shortly before the half-time stoppage as Nolan again picked out the 18-year-old, who proceeded to head home at the near post for his second of the afternoon.

Devonport, who had chances after the break, was unable to complete his hat-trick; with Cross-Adair then equalising for The Lilywhites on 67 minutes.

Stanley regained the lead just four minutes later and Nolan was again involved as the 21-year-old's long-range free-kick was parried by Pradic into the path of captain Harry Perritt, who slotted home from close range.

Kian Best drew Preston level for a second time on 74 minutes when he curled a superb free-kick over the wall and into the top right-hand corner.

It then looked as though Cross-Adair would grab his third goal of the game from the penalty spot, after Isherwood was ruled to have brought him down inside the area.

However, the Blackburn-born goalkeeper made amends with a great save to deny the 17-year-old his hat-trick and secure a well-earned point for the Reds.

Next up for Brannan and Gray's side is a trip to Canalside to face Huddersfield Town in the first of three February fixtures, with Wrexham then set to visit East Lancashire on Wednesday 15th.

Accrington Stanley

Isherwood, Nolan, Perritt (C), Moonan, Patrick, Sloane, Woods, Pickles, Fernandes (Poilly 46'), Devonport (Hardy 72') and Gough (Trickett 72').

Subs Not Used: Hood and Hall.

Yellow Cards: Perritt and Patrick.

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