Callum Robinson grabbed a hat-trick as the Lilywhites progressed through to a tie against either Walsall or Shrewsbury Town at Deepdale in round two of the FA Cup with Budweiser, after a 3-0 win over nine man Havant & Waterlooville.
Robinson’s first came just seven minutes in, betaing the Hawks keeper at the near post after driving in from the right and then he doubled his and PNE’s tally on the half hour mark with an excellent volley from Paul Gallagher’s right wing cross.
The home side were reduced to ten men just before the hour mark when former PNE man Brian Stock picked up a second yellow card and then with ten minutes left Wayne Cummings also saw straight red for handling to deny the No.27 a hat-trick, however, he did so from the resulting penalty.
Manager Simon Grayson made four changes to the side that faced Swindon six days earlier; Robinson, Kevin Davies, Josh Brownhill and Jack King all returning the side.
And it was the Villa loanee, given permission to play by the Premier League side, who gave the yellows the best possible start.
They were playing against a strong wind in the opening period, but took advantage of the way it was holding the ball up as Paul Huntington played a through ball in behind the home side’s right back. Robinson raced onto it, drove goalwards and fired hard and low into the bottom left hand corner at the near post through stopper and Havant & Waterlooville captain Ryan Young’s legs.
The first chance for the home side came from former North End midfielder Brian Stock, who collected a loose ball out by PNE and fired inches wide of right hand post from 30 yards after nine minutes.
On the quarter hour mark Ed Harris made a brilliant last ditch tackle to deny Robinson a second after his pace took him in behind onto Josh Brownhill’s through ball.
And he was tormenting Dan Strugnell at right back as again just past the half way mark the No.27 again collected a switched ball from Alan Browne, this time going on the outside and firing hard, but just over the bar.
However, he wasn’t to be denied a second on the 30 minute mark as Paul Gallagher tormented Josh Huggins down the left, turning inside and out before delivering a whipped cross that Robinson on the volley from 10 yards out fired hard and low into the bottom left hand corner.
Straight after the second Lee Bradbury’s side had their best chance of the opening period as Scott Wiseman was needed to concede a corner after JJ Hooper broke away and squared with Jones stranded and from the delivery Dan Strugnell headed just wide from Scott Donnelly’s corner.
On 35 minutes a header from Havant hit outside of post, Swallow’s ball and Brian Dutton's header, the ball swirling over in the conditions, but it was the home keeper who was the busier and right on the break he made a great double save to deny firstly Browne and then Scott Wiseman after the two had broken with pace down the right. The corner from Gallagher came out but back to the on loan Leicester man and he drove towards goal, but fired inches wide across goal from the left.
The second half started with the Lilywhites playing with the wind and they continued to press with Alan Browne and Callum Robinson combining well just three minutes in; the Irishman collecting the ball from a one-two, but screwing his shot wide with his left foot from 15 yards out.
Just before the hour mark the home side were reduced to ten men when Brian Stock, who scored one goal in eight appearances in his time with North End, was given a second yellow card for bringing down Alan Browne.
As the game approached the last 20 minutes North End were dominating possession against the ten men and Josh Brownhill was inches wide with a 25 yard drive after excellent hold up play before Paul Gallagher forced Ryan Young into a wonderful fingertip save after a curling effort from almost the same spot Brownhill’s effort came from.
Neil Kilkenny and Kyel Reid were introduced for the last 18 minutes as the tempo slowed from both sides, but it was the No.17 former Bradford man who went close to making it three, his vicious drive coming off the bar from 12 yards out.
But with ten minutes left the game was over as Wayne Cummings was given a straight red card as he prevented Callum Robinson grabbing a hat-trick, saving a shot with his hand. Robinson had headed against the cross bar from Reid’s cross and the ball then fell to Alan Browne who saw a shot saved by Ryan Young, but it only went to the Villa man who fired low only to see the former Bournemouth man handle the effort away.
Robinson himself composed himself and stpped up to fire hard and high to the keeper’s right to complete his hat-trick, despite Young getting a hanf to it, before receiving a standing ovation from both sets of fans as he was subbed with three minutes left.
Young in the home goal denied Kevin Davies a 150th goal of his career with a brilliant low save in the final minutes, before David Buchanan dragged a shot wide after getting in a position to break his duck for North End, collecting an Alan Browne ball in the box.
Havant & Waterlooville line-up: Young (c), Strugnell, Cummings, Stock, Dutton, Harris, Swallow (Ryan, 63), Donnelly, Hooper (Connell, 73), Bubb (Mullings, 63), Huggins. Subs not used: Woodford, Blanchett, Moneiro, Searle.
PNE line-up: Jones, Wiseman, Buchanan, King, Clarke (c), Huntington, Robinson (Laird, 87), Browne, K Davies, Brownhill (Kilkenny, 72), Gallagher (Reid, 72). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Humphrey, Garner, Welsh.
Attendance: 2,382 (389 away fans)
Referee: Mr S Martin