Preston Athletic were made to work exceedingly hard and dig deep into their energy resources to defeat Lowland League basement club Selkirk with only a late goal from striker Sean Martin sealing the home side’s victory.
The Pennypit surface resembled a muddy field even before the game kicked off and players found it difficult to keep their feet although, to be fair to both teams, they attempted to play passing football.
Preston were dealt a blow after only eight minutes when experienced defender Brian Foster left the pitch clutching his hamstring.
Both sides showed attacking qualities in the opening exchanges with Preston’s Paul Devlin having a ferocious shot well saved by Gregor Amos in the Selkirk goal.
Devlin did open the scoring midway through the first half when he managed to evade two tackles on the edge of the penalty box before placing a low right foot shot into the net despite the best efforts of Selkirk’s Sean Guiney on the goal line.
Selkirk upped the pace in the second half and deservedly equalised when a deep cross from David Battle found Chris Rooney. He slipped a pass to Phil Addison who neatly danced around two defenders before hitting the ball past Craig Pennycuik.
At this stage the game could have gone either way and it was in fortunate circumstances that Preston regained their advantage. In the 62nd minute Michael Osbourne scampered up the right wing and his low cross into the penalty box was turned into his own net by Selkirk’s Barry Milven.
Selkirk tried hard for an equaliser but the result was put beyond doubt four minutes from time when Martin latched on to a defence splitting pass from Osbourne to direct a low, left foot shot behind Amos.
David Bingham, the Preston Athletic manager, said: “It is hard to be critical because the surface did not lend itself to how we want to play football. The only positive thing is that we won the game although our players can play a lot better than that. The scoreline was flattering for us because Selkirk probably deserved to take something out of the game.”
Preston Athletic: Pennycuik, Stewart, O’Hara, Morrison (Thomson 66), Foster (Davidson 8), Moore, Osbourne, Ramsay, Martin, Devlin, Philp.
Selkirk: Amos, Battle, Scott (Handren 46), Guiney, Milven, Munro, McManus, Crolla, Addison (Hiabangana 54), Johnson, Rooney.
Referee: M McHendry.