Preston North End reserves were beaten 7-1 by Blackburn Rovers in the Central League Cup.
Harry Leonard, Niall Ennis and Semir Telalovic put the hosts into a comfortable position, before Troy Tarry pulled one back just before the break.
That didn’t spur a comeback, though, as four more goals in the second half – including two from Leonard to seal his hat-trick – extended Rovers’ advantage.
North End, fielding a squad of scholars and only one professional, started brightly and could have taken the lead inside the opening 60 seconds, but Kitt Nelson’s flicked header landed just wide, before Theo Mawene then had an effort blocked wide a few minutes later.
Rovers passed up a big opportunity in the sixth minute when Patrick Gamble volleyed wide from just a few yards out, and Leonard then smashed a strike against Tommy Davis’ left-hand post in the next attack.
Leonard wasn’t going to pass up his next chance in the 12th minute, though, as Ellis Horan’s pass was intercepted by the forward, who ran though on goal and found the bottom corner.
Rovers made it two in the 26th minute when Telalovic’s ball through the middle found Ennis, and he beat Davis in goal.
Telalovic then got on the scoresheet himself three minutes later, bending an effort into the far corner after cutting in onto his right foot.
Theo Mawene drove his side up the field just after the half-hour mark, jinking in and out of home defenders, before seeing a decent effort caught by goalkeeper Joe Hilton.
Hilton was a bystander for a well-worked North End goal two minutes before the break as the athletic Ethan Eccleston cut the ball back for Tarry, who finished past the ‘keeper at the far post to offer some hope.
Rovers restored their three-goal advantage in the early stages of the second half, though, via a similar goal to Tarry’s, with Leonard the man tapping home on the end of Leo Duru’s cross.
Davis came up with a great stop soon after to prevent Leonard sealing his hat-trick, but he couldn’t do anything to stop James Edmondson heading home from close range just short of the hour.
Hilton made an impressive save himself at the other end to react to a huge deflection on Horan’s effort from distance, while Dominic Biniek scored his side’s sixth in the 70th minute, bending into the bottom right corner.
The woodwork denied Eccleston and PNE in the 76th minute as his cross from the right looped over the goalkeeper and bounced back out off the post, and just a minute later substitute Ayden Garrigan sent a low strike a matter of inches wide.
Dylan Gairns could have pulled one back for his side five minutes from time as Eccleston sent the forward through on goal, but the ‘keeper denied him and instead Rovers made it seven before time was up through Leonard's third of the day.
PNE line-up: Davis; Critchley, Wilkinson, McGhee; Eccleston, Horan, Fowler (Goldsmith, 67), T.Mawene (Garrigan, 73), Tarry (Muir, 89); Carroll (Gairns, 67), Nelson (Havard, 89).