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First Team News

Preston North End 3 Burnley 2

5 September 2017

The Lilywhites progressed to the second round of the Lancashire FA Senior Cup at Springfields on Tuesday afternoon.

An own goal and strikes from Marnick Vermijl and Josh Harrop was enough for an experienced North End line-up to overcome the Clarets.

Callum Robinson’s cross was headed into his own net by Arlen Birch mid-way through the first half – the start of five goals in 19 minutes – to give the Lilywhites the lead, but a 25 yard free kick from Jamie Thomas levelled matters.

Vermijl drove in from the right to make it 2-1, before Harrop nodded in from close range to double the Lilywhites advantage, only for Khius Metz to send the game into the interval at 3-2, however, no further goals came and it was PNE who progressed to the next stage.

It was a very senior PNE side, with Declan Rudd, John Welsh and Calum Woods all returning to competitive action for the first time since injury and Paul Gallagher returning after concussion in the heart of the midfield alongside Welsh.

And they dominated the game from the outset. Woods was a threat going forward, butting in from the right and his cross was played down by Ben Pringle for Gallagher, forcing Younger to make a fine block for the visitors.

The opener came on 25 minutes after another spell of possession for Alex Neil’s side, Callum Robinson going past the left back before crossing with the outside of his right boot to the back post, where Birch stooped to try and head away, but diverted the ball past keeper Stone and into the bottom right hand corner.

Tommy Spurr went close to doubling the lead, meeting Gallagher’s left wing free kick 12 yards out, but he couldn’t keep his powerful header down and it flashed just over the bar.

Harrop then danced into the box past two defenders and forced the Burnley goalkeeper into a fine save with his legs as the chances continued to flow, but against the run of play and with their first shot on goal, the visitors were level.

A free kick was awarded 25 yards out and striker Thomas took it, curling the ball around the wall and into the bottom right hand corner, on 36 minutes.

However, parity lasted only four minutes, with Kevin O’Connor and Pringle combining, before the latter played the ball across to Vermijl in the right hand corner of the box. The Belgian drove in and fired hard and low under Stone into the middle of the goal.

And two minutes later it was 3-1 when Robinson went down the left hand edge of the penalty area, before versing a cross back from the byline to find the onrushing Harrop, who nodded into the net from close range – the lead no more than the home team deserved.

The two goal advantage was halved in the final minute before the break when Metz capitalised on a short back pass, collecting the ball and firing low past Rudd into the bottom corner to give the scoreline an unfair reflection of PNE’s dominance.

The second half was sedate compared to the first. Robinson went close, forcing a fine save from Stone, after cutting in from the left hand side and driving in a shot, that the keeper palmed clear.

And in the last few minutes the Lilywhites suffered a scare when Tinashe hit the outside of the left hand post, with Bayode’s follow up shot blocked by Andy Boyle, but this was a rare foray forward for Michael Duff’s side in the second half and PNE remained in control for the win.

PNE line-up: Rudd, Vermijl, Boyle, Spurr, O’Connor, Woods, Gallagher (Garstang, 71), Welsh (O’Neil, 71), Pringle, Harrop (Meulensteen, 63), Robinson. Subs not used: Roberts, Stead.

Burnley line-up: Stone, Birch, Koiki, Howarth (N’Guessan, 80), Flowers, Younger, Bayode, Nabi, Metz (Wilson, 86), Thomas (McNeil, 83), Tinashe.

Referee: Mr D Underwood

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