Marnick Vermijl scored his first goal for the Lilywhites as they progressed to the third round knocking out Quique Flores' Premier League Watford at Deepdale..
Vermijl slotted home Josh Brownhill’s pass from 12 yards out after only eight minutes to open the scoring and Jordan Pickford was rarely called upon as North End toppled the top flight Golden Boys.
There were five changes made by manager Simon Grayson, one enforced with Greg Cunningham unavailable, Humphrey, Welsh, Johnson and Gallagher also replaced by Vermijl, Reid, Brownhill and Browne.
And North End opened the scoring with the opening chance of the game. Vermijl was selected on the right side of a front three and therefore was in advance role when the ball came to Josh Brownhill on the edge of the ‘D’ who played a clever ball to the penalty spot where the on loan Sheffield Wednesday man had continued a run and slotted coolly under Arlauskis into the middle of the goal.
North End should have been given a chance to make it two when Joe Garner was clearly thrown to the floor by Chelsea loanee Nathan Ake in the box, after a good ball in from Calum Woods on the left – it was a stonewall penalty, but not given by referee Steve Martin.
In the 52nd minute two great chances fell the way of the Lilywhites. Firstly Josh Brownhill’s excellent run through the middle of the Hornets backline was found by Alan Browne’s slick pass, but the midfielder checked back rather than shoot left-footed and was dispossessed. The ball came back out to Joe Garner, who shot from 30 yards, but Arlauskis got behind the skidding low drive to keep it out.
Kyel Reid had another gilt-edged chance five minutes later as he collected a long ball from Calum Woods and raced clear of Nathan Ake, however, he took the shot early rather than driving into the box and dragged the effort just wide of the right hand post from 20 yards.
With 18 minutes left there was a real let off for North End as Layun took the ball off Neil Kilkenny and threaded in Fernando Forestieri, he had time and space five yards out, but drive across the face of goal and out for a throw.
Jordan Pickford then pulled off a superb save to tip Matej Vydra’s 20 yard curling effort over the bar with his finger ends, however, a moment of controversy as the corner was waiting to come over as Miguel Britos was given a straight red card for elbowing Bailey Wright in the face, seen by the linesman, who informed referee Martin of the incident. From the corner, when eventually taken Ben Watson caught a sweet volley from Layun’s cross, but it was inches over the bar.
Ten minutes left and Joe Garner saw a shot deflected just past the right hand upright as the Lilywhites tried to spread the play to make use of the extra man.
Beckford and Humphrey replaced Garner and Reid late on, but it was comfortable for PNE as they made it through to round three with the win.
PNE line-up: Pickford, Clarke (c), Woods, Kilkenny, Wright, Huntington, Vermijl, Browne, Garner (Beckford, 85), Brownhill, Reid (Humphrey, 85). Subs not used: Pickford, Johnson, Gallagher, Welsh, Davies.
Watford line-up: Arlauskis, Britos, Angella, Vydra, Forestieri, Parades, Ake, Layun, Abdi (c), Watson, Smith (Berghuis, 60). Subs not used: Gilmartin, Pudil, Belkalem, Hoban, Dyer.
Attendance: 6,250 (369 away fans)
Referee: Mr S Martin