Match report: Everton 3 PNE 0

Everton v PNE
Everton v PNE
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Preston North End bowed out of the Lancashire Senior Cup at the first round stage, beaten by Everton at Southport.

Goals from Leandro Rodrigeuz, Conor Grant and Liam Walsh gave the Toffees their victory, the scoreline perhaps not doing parts of PNE’s play justice.

Jordan Hugill and Kyel Reid both limped out of the action early in the game, the knee injury which Hugill appeared to suffer looking a bit of a worry.

The rules of the competition state that teams must have a minimum of six players with professional contracts in their team.

North End had eight in the squad, with the bulk of the first-team experience provided by Jamie Jones, Andy Little, Josh Brownhill, Hugill and Reid.

Hugill hobbled off in the 12th minute, shortly after Everton had opened the scoring.

The Toffees had already forced Jones into a save by then, the PNE goalkeeper saving well with his legs after Rodriguez had been sent clear in the box by Conor McAleny’s slide-rule pass.

They made the breakthrough when Ryan Ledson’s cross from the byline found Rodriguez at the far post, the Uruguayan striker - signed from Rover Plate Montevideo last week - sending a close-range header into an unguarded net.

North End’s first decent chance came when Brownhill’s free-kick found Davies in the box, the skipper’s header flying wide.

Reid joined Hugill on the sidelines in the 27th minute, the winger having taken a knock earlier.

He carried on after treatment but was not moving freely, James Boyd replacing him.

Jones got down low to save from Henen, before a couple of decent chances for an equaliser fell Preston’s way in the run-up to the interval.

Little’s pass played in Brownhill down the right hand side of the box, the midfielder’s shot blocked by the legs of keeper Mateusz Hewelt.

The ball eventually came back to Little outside the box, his low drive forcing Hewelt to save for a second time.

On the stroke of half-time, Jones saved well at the other end from Henen, getting down low at the near post.

North End started the second period promisingly, good link-up play between Sean Whelan and substitute Jonathan Lunney almost carving out an opening.

But in the 56th minute, Everton doubled their advantage, Callum Lees’ pass finding Grant on the edge of the box, the winger drilling a low shot past Jones.

They almost had a third moments later, Jones diving to push Henen’s low drive behind for a corner.

Brownhill tried his luck with a right-foot shot from the edge of the box which Hewelt dived to hold.

Everton assured themselves victory with a slightly fortuitous third goal in the 65th minute.

A corner was rolled short to Walsh in the inside-left channel, his cross missing everyone in the middle and flying in at the back post.

North End almost grabbed a consolation when substitute Boyd’s shot was parried by Hewelt, the ball coming quickly at Little who put a header wide.

Jones twice saved with his legs late in the game as North End chased a consolation and left gaps at the back.

Everton: Hewelt, Lees (Yates 67), Pennington, Browning, Mellon (Jones 67), Grant, Walsh, Ledson, Henen (Evans 75), Rodriguez, McAleny. Unused subs: Gray, Williams.

PNE: Jones, Smith, Heaton, Davies, Whelan, Little, Robinson, Jagne, Reid (Boyd 27), Brownhill, Hugill (Lunney 12). Unused subs: Roberts, Earl, James.

Referee: Darren Bond (Bolton)