Preston North End U18s were eliminated from the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday afternoon as Tottenham Hotspur U18s progressed from the third round tie with a 5-0 win.
The scoreline was perhaps not a true reflection of the pattern of play, after the Lilywhites showed much promise and created a number of decent openings throughout the contest.
But a touch of quality and the clinical finishing to match meant it was Spurs who secured a place in the fourth round, where they will travel to AFC Bournemouth, thanks to first-half strikes from Paris Maghoma, Phoenix Patterson and a Rodel Richards hattrick.
The visitors pressed well early on and freed up Kian Smart down the right a few times early on, although Spurs were the first side to threaten the goal, as Reo Grifftiths was denied by Lilywhites ‘keeper James Cottam from close range following a Tariq Hinds cutback.
Mike Howard blazed a free-kick just over the bar at the other end before Patterson drove the hosts forward, playing it wide right for Maghoma who then fed Richards into a crossing position, and with Patterson then lurking in the box he stabbed a first-time effort wide from ten yards.
North End continued to encourage with their high-energy style, but Tottenham made the breakthrough after 19 minutes. Jamie Reynolds played J’Neil Bennett into space down the left, and when he delivered low into the area from the byline, Maghoma met it with a well-placed finish into the bottom right corner.
The Lilywhites were unfazed by going behind, if anything looking better for having gone behind. They turned their early moments of encouragement into chances, with Howard shooting straight at goalkeeper Jonathan De Bie moments after the restart.
Oscar O’Neil was next to try his luck as he surged down the left and into the box, but his left-footed effort from a tight angle was straight at De Bie.
Maghoma almost doubled his and Spurs’ tally on 27 minutes when he unleashed a 20-yard strike against the crossbar, with Richards shooting into Cottam’s grasp from close range shortly after.
Harry Garstang showed great skill just after the half hour to turn past two men and into the box, but saw his shot deflected wide, and the forward’s menacing left-wing cross towards Smart was smothered minutes later.
Spurs doubled their lead in the 39th minute when Griffiths drilled in a cross from the right and Richards finished first time at the near post. Griffiths might have made it three before the break, but an excellent last ditch challenge from Kamol Campbell and close range save from Cottam kept it at 2-0 going into half-time.
The visitors started brightly following the interval, as Jack Baxter drifted inside from the right and saw his shot from outside the box parried, but Spurs soon extended their lead in the 53rd minute. Cottam did well to save an initial effort from the right with his legs, but the rebound fell for Patterson just inside the box, and he fired into the top left corner.
PNE again responded, as Alex Wood and Ethan Walker were introduced from the bench, the latter in particular making an immediate impact to win a free-kick on the edge of the area, which Howard struck marginally over the bar.
Spurs made it four after 64 minutes, as Richards scored his second of the afternoon. Bennett again delivered low from the left, allowing the forward to convert from inside the box.
North End had more possession as the tie went on, going closest when Adam O’Reilly’s curling strike from 20 yards was superbly tipped wide by De Bie, and a marauding run from Walker into the box resulted only in his shot being blocked.
The hosts continued to look ruthless in attack, though, and completed the afternoon’s scoring after 84 minutes. Richards completed his hattrick as he headed in from Dillan Markanday’s floated left-wing cross.
Spurs finished the afternoon as 5-0 winners and although this wasn’t the desired result for the Lilywhites, they gave a good account of themselves against category one opponents, with plenty of positives to take going forward.
Tottenham Hotspur line-up: De Bie, Hinds (Dinzeyi, 72), Reynolds, Skipp (Bowden), Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Richards, Maghoma, Griffiths, Patterson (Markanday, 66). Subs not used: Oluwayemi, Shashoua.
Preston North End line-up: Cottam; Fensome, Stead, Lyons, Campbell; O’Neil, Baxter; Smart (Wood, 57), O’Reilly, Howard (Brannigan, 82); Garstang (Walker, 57). Subs not used: Armer, Lenton.
Referee: Mr I Gelov.