Preston North End Women progressed through to the Vitality Women’s FA Cup second qualifying round with a 3-0 victory over Atherton Laburnum Rovers Ladies.
Freya Hunt opened the scoring in the first half, while a second-half brace from striker Madison Hadley ensured there was a comfortable winning margin for PNE.
North End were returning from a two-week absence, having hosted Haslingden a fortnight ago, before this tie was postponed last weekend following the passing of Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
The home side didn’t have it all their own way in the first 45 minutes, with visitors Atherton creating a number of chances, but they couldn’t find the opener.
It was PNE who found the opener, courtesy of Hunt in the sixth minute, as the midfielder headed home from a Katie Woodhead corner.
After that, they had to soak up the pressure as Atherton continued to press, with the away side winning the majority of the second balls. Stand-in goalkeeper Rose Stuttard was required to make sure North End went into the break still a goal to the good.
PNE came out in the second half and turned the screw, though, asserting their dominance in the game, and they had a great chance early on through Hadley, but the striker was unable to convert one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Hadley’s goal did come eventually, when she received the ball with her back to goal 15 minutes from time, before turning and firing an effort into the back of the net.
The tie was then put beyond doubt when Hadley scored her second of the game just six minutes later, squeezing an effort into the bottom corner.
North End professionally saw the game out from that point to ensure they would progress to the second qualifying round, when they will face FC St Helens Women away from home on Sunday 2 October.
Co-manager David Rawcliffe said: “We are absolutely delighted to progress in the FA Cup. We rode our luck in the first half but defended well.
“Getting the early goal gave us something to defend. We know they are a very good team and they caused us problems in the first half.
“Second half, we asked the team to match the intensity and win the second balls. They did exactly what we asked and getting the second goal was critical.
“I thought we managed the game well in the second half and we felt it was an excellent team effort. The girls should be proud of themselves after that.”
PNE line-up: Stuttard; Jaques, Hamilton, Parkinson, C. Woodhead, Collins; Hunt, K. Woodhead; Greenwood, Hadley, Askam. Subs: Macpherson, Mercer, Jones, Radcliffe.