Yes, this was just another friendly against non-league opposition, but there were still a few talking points to take from today’s game. And no, David Nugent will not be one of them. I’m saving that one for tomorrow…
Seani Maguire is back.
That’s right – Seani Maguire returned to the side this afternoon and capped off his hour of action with an impressive trio of goals.
The first was a relatively simple strike. After Hughes had headed down a corner into the six yard box, the nimble Irishman reacted quickest, sweeping the ball into the roof of the net.
And throughout the first half, Maguire looked razor sharp, repeatedly punishing a Fylde defence who kicked off the game playing a high-line. This allowed Seani to sit on the shoulder of the last man and pick up the ball in the vast space between the Fylde back four and the goalkeeper.
And this high line was what resulted in Maguire’s second goal. Centre half Ben Davies arrowed a superb through ball over the Fylde defence and into the onrushing feet of Maguire, who took a touch before bursting to the edge of the box and slotting the ball into the back of the net.
Maguire’s involvement lessened as the Fylde defence retreated, but he still managed to cap off a wonderful performance with a hattrick, just moments before the hour mark.
He collected the ball before moving into the box on the right and drilling a shot into the far corner.
Alright, it was against AFC Fylde, but scoring goals is a good habit to get into whoever the opposition.
Billy Bodin shows consistency.
After two sublime showings against both Bamber Bridge and Cork City, the Welsh wizard Billy Bodin continued his impressive vain of form against National League outfit AFC Fylde.
After a lengthy stint out injured, Bodin really is relishing his opportunity to shine on the right, and this was evident again today at Mill Farm.
Much of Preston’s initial play came through Bodin and it’s already clear that his teammates trust him with the ball.
His close control is second to none and the strength of his weak foot equally impressive – does he even have a weak foot?
He’s just one of those players that you can’t take your eyes off when he’s got the ball glued to his feet and with some strong challenges going in on the winger, it was clear the Fylde players were warned of his ability to embarrass the opposition.
Oh and he grabbed a fine solo goal too, after receiving the ball from Browne, rushing into the box, turning his opposing defender inside out and drilling the ball into the far corner – leaving the keeper rooted to the spot.
Although this consistency is only in pre-season, it’s a momentum he will be able to carry into the competitive campaign.
We need to “cross” this off our to-do list.
At the top of Alex Neil’s to-do list tonight has got to be improving how we deal with crosses and set-pieces into the box.
On a number of occasions, Fylde found space in the box, only to put the ball wide, when really they should have been punishing our frailties.
We looked vulnerable in our own area and this was something we struggled with last season too.
While Bauer was brought in to rectify this issue, it is clear work still needs to be done, but I am confident this defensive aspect of our game will be fixed before the 3rd of August.