Derek Hall's report from the Preston Athletic v Edinburgh United game on Tuesday 8th January 2019

A trip down to Prestonpans on a cold, still evening to watch home side Preston Athletic hosting Edinburgh United under the lights. The game could not have started in a worse fashion for the visitors who found themselves two goals down with little more than three minutes gone. Their defence was posted missing in the first minute as the ball trundled home into the corner and it got worse a couple of minutes later when a speculative twenty yarder moved in the air and completely deceived the United keeper who ended up palming the ball into the net.
The game was being played at a fairly high tempo with both teams trying to get at each other at every opportunity. The one problem both teams seemed to have on the night was an inability to properly defend crosses into the penalty areas and every high ball seemed to create chances at both ends, exciting for the spectators but surely frustrating for both coaches. It was no surprise midway through the half when United got themselves back into the game with an unchallenged header from a free kick into the box finding the target. However the two goal lead was restored minutes later and this time it was a poorly defended corner which was headed home past the stranded keeper for a 3-1 lead which Preston held onto till the break.
Edinburgh started the second half with purpose and within the first two minutes, they failed to capitalise on two great chances within 30 seconds of each other to close the deficit, with the first of these bringing out a superb close range save from the home keeper. Preston then settled back into the game and were happy to counter attack on the break as Edinburgh pushed forward trying to get back into the game. A 25 yard free kick for United flashed just wide but midway through the half, the game was finished as a contest when another goalkeeping error resulted in a fourth goal for the home side and that was that.
A comfortable win in the end for Athletic who will be delighted with some of their lead up play and their ability on the night to make the most of the chances presented to them. United on the other hand will see this as a bad night at the office, particularly at the back, and will look to their next fixture to immediately get back on track.
Finally a word about the officiating team tonight who were excellent and it was great to see Category 1 referee Gavin Duncan back in action again on his return from a serious injury looking like he hasn’t missed a beat, the lack of dissent on show during the game was an excellent barometer on the performance of the guys in black.

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