PNE 3 Chesterfield 0
Two goals from Jermaine Beckford and a penalty from Joe Garner sent North End to Wembley after a clinical victory over Chesterfield at Deepdale.
The Lilywhites finally got their pitch invasion as they thrashed their opponents to leave Deepdale bouncing.
Beckford’s first on 38 minutes was superb, volleying home with his back to goal from Joe Garner’s nod down.
Joe Garner then fired home from the spot after Daniel Johnson had been upended, before an audacious and brilliant effort from Beckford three minutes from time scoring into the top corner from 50 yards finished off and set up a trip to the arch.
There were two changes in the starting XI and a change in formation for the Lilywhites, with Neil Kilkenny coming in alongside John Welsh and Calum Woods replacing Scott Laird at left back in a 4-2-1-3 for Simon Grayson’s men.
It was a very cagey first half hour to the game, Sam Clucas driving a left foot shot across box in the first minute only for Sam Johnstone to watch it wide.
The first activity in the visitors box came 13 minutes in as Jermaine Beckford was seemingly hauled down in the box after Joe Garner’s nod down from Woods’ long ball forward – something we would see again later – but Andy D’Urso refereeing his last ever game saw nothing.
The first shot on goal came at the opening period’s mid-point as a Paul Gallagher shot from 25 yards was straight at Joe Murphy, the late loan recruitment in the Spireites goal.
Nine minutes before the break North End required a brilliant save by Sam Johnstone to remain ahead in the tie, the on loan custodian getting down after Clucas was sent clean through by Gary Roberts, but the keeper spread himself and diverted over the bar with his leg.
But the opening goal came seven minutes before the break when a long ball into the edge of the box by Calum Woods – a repeat of the earlier chance - saw Joe Garner head down and Jermaine Beckford with his back to goal spun and shot past Murphy into the top left hand corner.
Right on the stroke of half-time Paul Gallagher headed off the line from Ian Evatt’s header in from Roberts’ corner to keep the Lilywhites’ two-goal advantage going into the break.
If the second half started quietly the whole place erupted on the hour mark. Joe Garner flicked a long ball on from the back to Neil Kilkenny who in turn sent it on for Daniel Johnson who beat Joe Murphy to the ball but was felled with Andy D’Urso pointing straight to the spot.
Joe Garner stepped up and slammed an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner of the goal from 12 yards out to bring the majority of the 15,600 crowd off their feet.
A Jimmy Ryan shot with 16 minutes left took a deflection off John Welsh and went out for a corner to the visitors and from the corner Jay O’Shea hot the post with a low shot that had beaten Johnstone, but came back out and North End eventually cleared.
There was a lull in the game with North End playing on the counter, on and off the pitch, but as the final five minutes started the noise levels raised once again.
And with three minutes to go Jermaine Beckford scored the goal that would confirm North End would be going to Wembley; and what a goal. It was fired out by Bailey Wright up to him inside his own half, he turned his man and fired from 50 yards past Murphy and into the top left hand corner – what a goal!
: Johnstone, Clarke (c), Woods (Humphrey, 76), Welsh, Huntington, Wright, Kilkenny, Johnson (Laird, 71), Garner, Beckford, Gallagher (Browne, 52). Subs not used: Stuckmann, K Davies, Hugill, Robinson.PNE line-up
: Murphy, Darikwa, Jones (Ariyibi, 67), Hird, Morsy (c), Ryan, O’Shea, Roberts (Gardner, 82), Clucas, Evatt, Banks (Gnanduillet, 64). Subs not used: Carter, Humphreys, Raglan, Harrison.Chesterfield line-up
: 15,641 (1,628 away fans)Attendance
: Mr A D’UrsoReferee