It was a happy Valentine’s Day for Preston Athletic manager Willie Kirk as his side claimed their first win of 2015 against Edinburgh University on Saturday.
A late switch of venue to East Peffermill due to concerns over the Pennypit pitch made no difference to the Panners. First-half goals from Jack McIntyre and on-loan Hearts striker Alistair Roy, either side of a Duncan Black penalty miss for Uni, sealed the points in this Lowland League Cup Central Section A fixture.
Kirk was understandably pleased with the way his side performed and hopes they’re able to build on a rare win.
“Apart from a 15-minute spell in the first half, I thought the performance was really good,” he said. “I’m really pleased with a victory and a clean sheet –you can’t ask for much more than that, especially in the position we’re in and after the results we’ve had. Hopefully the boys take a lot of confidence from that and kick-on.”
Goalkeeper John Gilbertson left the club last week with Craig Pennycuik coming in after an injury lay-off, and he made a vital contribution in saving a Uni spot-kick at 1-0.
“He did great – it was a great save,” added Kirk. “I was actually disappointed with our reaction to the save because not one of us has followed it in.”
The visitors began to ask questions of their opponents after a scrappy first 15 minutes. Roy’s curling effort required Mark Tait to be at full stretch to tip it wide before Max Todd’s free-kick whistled just wide. Roy’s pace was causing problems for Uni down the left and he used it to good effect, cutting back for Paul Devlin who’s shot lacked the power to beat Tait.
That warning wasn’t heeded and Kirk’s team took the lead on 25 minutes. Henderson’s pass sent Roy scampering down the left before picking out Jack McIntyre, who took a touch before accurately finding the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Dorian Ogunro’s team missed a golden opportunity to get back into the game six minutes before the break. Joe Aitken skipped past Liam Todd who hung out a leg and tripped him in the area. However, skipper Black stepped up but Pennycuik dived to his right to save well, although Athletic were fortunate to survive the rebound.
They capitalised on that good fortune a minute later. Roy’s speed again got him into a dangerous position, and he showed great composure to collect a ball over the top, shimmy past two defenders and calmly slot the ball past Tait to double the advantage.
The expected second-half onslaught from the home side never materialised and, in truth, Preston could have added to their lead. Uni Head Coach Dorian Ogunro felt the penalty miss was costly but conceded his side deserved nothing regardless.
“If we’d scored it maybe would have got us something we didn’t deserve” he said. “We were poor today – they were the better team on the day.
“There was no energy to us and we didn’t keep the ball well. The last time we played Preston I was really impressed with them.”
Edinburgh Uni: Tait; Thomson (Mortimer 70); Sutherland; Irvine; Black; Daniels-Yeoman; Aitken (Paterson 44); MacFarlane; Guthrie; Evans (Loftus 85); Oswald.
Preston Athletic: Pennycuik; L Todd (Stewart 45); O’Hara; J Todd; Bruce; Henderson; M Todd; P Devlin; McIntyre (Thomson 83); Aitchison (S Devlin 65); Roy.