A 650 mile round trip proved a worthwhile one for Preston, as they did just enough to see of the Pilgrims at Home Park.
A solitary goal from Akpo Sodje was the difference for the Lilywhites, although they probably would have wished for a more comfortable performance. Argyle had plenty of chances to equalise but in the end could not find the breakthrough.
In what was both side’s final pre-season fixture, manager Carl Fletcher opted to hand Home Park debuts to his two new signings, Rhys Griffiths and Johnny Gorman, after both signed for the club earlier this week.
Preston manager Graham Westley, on the other hand, was able to recall two players, David Amoo and Andy Proctor, after both passed fitness tests.
After part one of the aforementioned round trip, the Preston players were certainly on the ball. With just four minutes on the clock, David Amoo showed his raw pace to comfortably run past the
Argyle back line, before a tackle from Luke Young placed the ball perfectly in Akpo Sodje’s path, with the trialist firing home past Jake Cole.
It was a lively start for Preston and for the opening 20 minutes, they were in full control. What Argyle were doing, though, was limiting their chances on goal.
And it was on 20 minutes when a sign of the tides changing shone through. Gurrieri was given plenty of time and space on the edge of the Preston box, only for the Argentinian to fire wide.
Johnny Gorman, who signed for the Pilgrim’s on a six-month loan deal on Monday, was increasingly becoming involved for Argyle down the left hand side as the Pilgrims were suddenly the ones applying pressure.
And it was that man Gorman who was at the centre of Argyle’s next chance. The bustling winger picked up the ball in the middle of the park, before running at the Preston back line and hitting a shot that, were it not for Tomlinson’s intervention, would surely have flown into the back of the net.
As the first half closed it had been all Argyle, with chances falling to Lecointe late on; the youngster lashing a swivelling half-volley just over.
Westley opted to make four changes at half-time, with Keith Keane, Paul Huntington, Graham Cummins and Lee Holmes coming on in place of Robertson, Welsh, Hayhurst and Amoo; Fletcher content with what he had seen.
Argyle carried on more or less where they left off; Luke Young had the first chance of the half, striking with his left foot from 25 yards.
On 59 minutes, Fletch switched up the Argyle attack, bringing on Nick Chadwick and Warren Feeney for the hard working Griffiths and Lecointe.
A trademark Bhasera run in the 63rd minute saw him weave his way past two defenders, before being hacked down in the box, leaving referee Adam Hopkins no choice but to award a penalty. Chadwick stepped up, but Tomlinson saved well to his left.
A man who probably would have buried that penalty, Paul Wotton, was introduced for the Pilgrims, replacing Young, whilst for Preston, a familiar face at Home Park in the shape of Scott Laird took to the field, replacing Monakana.
Shortly after, Fletch continued to try out solutions at right-back, bringing on Robbie Williams for Curtis Nelson and Ladjie Soukouna replaced the impressive Gorman.
Argyle continued to apply pressure late on in what was a solid all round performance, limiting chances for Preston. All that remained elusive was an equalising goal. Nonetheless, the performance was good for the Pilgrims, and they certainly didn’t look out of place against a Npower League 1 side.
Argyle (4-4-2): 1 Jake Cole (GK); 17 Curtis Nelson (3 Robbie Williams 74), 4 Maxime Blanchard, 5 Darren Purse, 14 Onismor Bhasera; 28 Johnny Gorman (18 Ladjie Soukouna 80), 8 Luke Young (15 Paul Wotton 65), 6 Conor Hourihane, 27 Andes Gurrieri ( 7 Paris Cowan-Hall 73); 21 Matt Lecointe(11 Warren Feeney 59 ), 10 Rhys Griffiths (9 Nick Chadwick 59) Substitutes (not used): 13 Ollie Chenoweth (GK), 19 Joe Lennox, 20 Rene Gilmartin (GK).
Preston North End (4-4-2): 1 Stuart Tomlinson (GK) (31 Neil Etheridge 75 ) ; 5 Chris Robertson (2 Keith Keane h-t), 16 David Buchanan, 24 Will Hayhurst (4 Paul Huntingdon h-t), 5 Chris Robertson 69), 26 Bailey Wright; 17 Jeffrey Monakana (3 Scott Laird 65), 18 Andy Procter, 19 John Welsh (11 Lee Holmes h-t), 22 Jack King; 7 David Amoo (9 Graham Cummins h-t), 12 Akpo Sodje (20 Chris Beardsley 59). Substitutes (not used): 8 Nicky Wroe, 15 Chris Holroyd.
Attendance: 1504 (63 away).