PNE’s Futsal B team put on a terrific display at the league two national finals yesterday, going all the way to the quarter-finals before narrowly getting knocked out on penalties by Cardiff.
The tournament held in Birmingham Arena last weekend marked PNE’s first appearance in the National finals - with the B team finishing top of their group in the regional competition despite Preston North End only just introducing the programme this year.
As a result, whilst most of their opponents had first and second year players to choose from, North End’s squad was made fully up of first year players.
Preston’s group included Chesterfield, Swindon and Bradford, with the top two going through into the quarter-finals in each of the four groups.
The Lilywhites took an early 2-0 lead against their first opponents Chesterfield, only for the Derbyshire side to claw their way back and draw the game 2-2.
Next up for Preston were Swindon who going into the tournament were one of the strongest teams in the competition.
Despite this, North End ran out 3-2 winners putting them in a strong position to qualify going into their final game against Bradford.
The Yorkshire outfit needed to win by two clear goals to qualify with Preston having a superior goal difference over them.
The Bantams could only win the game 2-1 meaning North End marched on into the latter stages of the competition.
Up against them in the quarter-finals were Cardiff - another team tipped to do well prior to the tournament, However, nothing could separate the two sides in normal time, meaning penalties would decide who’d go into the last four.
Cardiff won the shoot-out 3-2, and the Welsh side went on to progress into the final before losing to winners, Sheffield United 1-0.
Head of Community and Academy coach at Preston North End Andy Haythornthwaite commended how well PNE’s futsal team did on the day despite it being their debut season in the programme.
He said “The fact our squad was only made up of first year players whilst almost everyone else’s squad was made up of first and second year teams highlights how big achievement it was to get this far.
“We’re really proud with how well the players performed today - and how well they’ve done over the year - and it just shows how strong the programme is here at Preston with it being our first year of running it.”
The season doesn’t stop there for PNE’s Futsal academy with the A team also qualifying for the National finals, and they play this Sunday again at the Birmingham Arena.
PNE Futsal B team – Jordan Danson (GK), Lewis Westwell (c), Jack Bolton, Jordan Farrow, Jacob Pakeman, Jason Vickers, Josh Tomlinson, Jonny Banks
If you’re interested in joining the futsal academy, Enrolment is still open for school leavers who are interested in joining the PNE Futsal Academy which begins its second year this September. For more information, clickhere.