Preston Athletic boss Colin Jack hailed the impact of goalkeeper Craig Pennycuick after their 2-0 Ferrari Packaging Lowland League win over East Kilbride at the Pennypit on Saturday.
First-half goals from Jack McCue and David Porcher were immediately followed by a stunning double save from an East Kilbride spot-kick by Pennycuick to keep the Panners in command. Pennycuick, who had a spell with the East Lothian club last season, has been signed on a short-term basis from Easthouses and his manager was delighted with his overall performance.
“He did really well,” Jack said. “I’m really pleased with him. It was an unbelievable save – a double save as well and in the game he did really well. It just shows you – I was fearing the worst because we didn’t have a goalkeeper up until Thursday. Flocks [Chris Flockhart] is club captain so it’s a difficult one but I’m sure he’ll come back in!”
The opening quarter of an hour produced little in the way of clear cut opportunities. The visitors enjoyed the early territorial advantage, but the hosts dealt with a succession of deliveries into their area, while looking to break at every opportunity.
They did so to great effect when the impressive McCue gave Preston the lead on 20 minutes. The midfielder drove forward and showed good feet to skip past two challenges, and probably deserved his slice of luck when Matthew McGinley fumbled his powerful left foot drive over his own shoulder and in to the net.
The Panners doubled their seven minutes later. Porcher applied pressure to the East Kilbride backline after Bob Baillie’s ball forward, and pounced on a slack backwards header to lift the ball over McGinley.
The visitors were immediately presented with the opportunity to halve the deficit when Jamie Todd felled Jack Smith in the box, but the on-loan Pennycuick produced a fantastic double save from Martin McBride’s penalty then Smith’s follow-up to preserve his team’s two-goal advantage.
The hosts had two chances to kill the game minutes after the restart. Gary Nicholson and Porcher’s pressure presented the latter with an opportunity from close range, but McGinley blocked his shot. Nicholson was then played in but again McGinley parried his drive.
Sean Winter should have had Billy Ogilvie’s team back in it on 53 minutes but missed the target with his header following Barry Russell’s dangerous delivery from the left. Kilby’s incessant search for a route back in was inches from being fruitful when Smith curled a great effort from the angle of the box that came back off the crossbar.
Preston showed the greater composure in the last ten and Robbie Manson almost made it three, rattling the post with a stoppage time free-kick.
Preston Athletic: Pennycuick, C Moffat, Baillie, Manson, McSherry, J Todd, McCue, Gilchrist (A Moffatt 60), Nicholson (Bryden 70), Martin (Currie 88), Porcher.
East Kilbride: McGinley, Howe, Russell, Morris (Gebbie 64), Kerr, Winter, Gormley (Hastings 65), McBride, Smith, Brady, Templeton (Lachlan 45).