The youth team’s coach Andy Fensome was delighted with the scholars’ progress into the third round of the FA Youth Cup.
The former North End full back felt his side were inspired once again by playing under the lights at Deepdale and after a couple of difficult league games, showed what they are really capable of.
The U18s lost to Blackpool and Burnley the previous two Saturdays, but in front of over 600 at the Lilywhites home stadium, they blew the Minstermen away with a slick performance.
“The last couple of weeks the lads perhaps haven’t put the performances in that they should have done on the weekends and this weekend just gone,” Fensome told the official website. “Maybe they had one eye on this tie, which is a massive game.
“They got the taste of Deepdale under lights in the last round and wanted to play again and the performance today was excellent. The first 45 minutes won the tie.
“They came together today, worked hard this week and in the first 45 minutes they got the goals and got the belief in themselves.”
The goals were a mixture of wonderful team goals and individual skill, with the Academy coaches happy to have made it 11 goals in two outings in the competition.
“It was good to see Jack Ryan scoring another couple of goals,” continued the ex-North End defender. “He looks big and strong; he got a header and one from the edge of the box which is great for him.
“Joe Whittington went at players tonight and Tyler Forbes found some great holes and it is great we are scoring goals.
“Nick Anderton started in his own half, dribbled through and Nick has that ability. He shows it when he is running down the line, getting crosses in, but for him to go and get his goal is fantastic for him - we have always talked about the toe poke being an under-rated thing!”
Academy boss Nick Harrison and ‘Fenners’ also gave a start to a 15-year-old, who didn’t look out of place: “Adam Robinson is in our U16s. He has accepted a Scholarship for next year, but we felt it was right for him to start the game.
“He will benefit from that experience, having come on as sub in the last round and he will go on from here.”
And the carrot at the end of the stick was of course a home tie against FA Youth Cup holders Norwich City in the third round, something everyone is now looking forward to: “That was the opportunity available for them tonight; to play against the cup holders – to pit themselves against the best in this competition last season.
“They are a Premier League Academy, so it will be a tough game, but one we will look forward to and we’ll assess it after our league games,” he added.