Champions Manchester City progressed to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup at a sold out Deepdale.
First half goals from Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, David Silva provided Pep Guardiola’s side with a 3-0 win, despite great effort from North End.
Both sides made changes from their previous weekend’s victories, with Alex Neil making five alterations from the side that started in the 1-0 triumph at St Andrew’s and they started well.
Inside 60 seconds they created the first opening, holding possession well before Ryan Ledson crossed from the right and the ball was inches over Josh Harrop at the back post.
The Lilywhites managed the opening stages well, so much so that it was in 18 minutes until the Carabao Cup holders had a shot on goal; Sterling with the effort from a tight angle, which was well saved by Connor Ripley.
However, the visitors had the lead on the 20-minute mark. As Sterling ran from the half-way line right at the heart of the defence, created space for a shot, but it took a deflection shot off the heels of a PNE defender to lift the ball over Ripley.
On 35 minutes it was two. Sterling was again involved, feeding Jesus down the left of the penalty area who collected and fired hard and low under Ripley into the goal.
And it was three just before half-time, in rather lucky fashion as skipper Silva’s cross took a deflection off an outstretched PNE leg that took it past Ripley into the right side of the goal.
Just before the break the Lilywhites had a chance to reduce the deficit as Tom Barkhuizen raced away from Eric Garcia after collecting a ball over the top, he got a shot away, but Claudio Bravo saved low down.
North End started the second half brightly and some great play by Brad Potts, Alan Browne and Darnell Fisher created a chance for Harrop, who got in on goal and fired a low shot that beat Bravo, but came back off the right-hand post and was eventually scrambled clear by the Citizens defence.
With just under a half an hour left a huge roar inside Deepdale came about as David Nugent made his return to the club 12 years after his departure to Portsmouth, replacing Barkhuizenm who had worked his socks off in attack.
Just after the second period’s mid-point Phil Foden rattled the cross bar after a cute through ball from Sterling found the England U21 midfielder in space, but the ball came back out and was cleared by man of the match Ben Davies in what was the last real chance of game.
PNE line-up: Ripley, Fisher, Rafferty, Ledson, Storey, Davies, Potts, Browne (c), Barkhuizen (Nugent 63), Johnson (Bayliss, 76), Harrop (Ginnelly, 71). Subs not used: Rudd, Bayliss, Green, Stockley, Huntington.
Manchester City line-up: Bravo, Sterling (Mahrez, 73), Gundogan, Jesus, Angelino (Mendy, 60), B Silva, D Silva (c) (Bernabe, 63), Cancelo, Foden, Garcia, Harwood-Bellis. Subs not used: Carson, Rodrigo, Otamendi, Dionkou.
Attendance: 22,025 (5,637 Manchester City fans)
Referee: Mr L Mason