FA Youth Cup: PNE 3 AFC Wimbledon 2 (aet)

Preston North End moved into the last eight of the FA Youth Cup with an extra-time victory over AFC Wimbledon at Deepdale.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 1st February 2017, 8:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd February 2017, 9:16 am
PNE celebrate Josh Earl's opening goal
PNE celebrate Josh Earl's opening goal

A thrilling game which swung in favour of both teams at different times was settled in the 115th minute by a fine finish from North End substitute Alex Wood.

Nick Harrison's team had taken a first-half lead through Josh Earl, only for the visitors to equalise from the penalty spot through Jayden Antwi in the 74th minute.

AFC Wimbledon then went in front in the 105th minute through Anthony Hartigan's low shot from 25 yards.

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Josh Earl fires PNE into the lead

But in injury-time at the end of the first half of extra-time, PNE skipper Melle Meulensteen netted with a penalty after substitute Tom Barry was brought down.

Both sides showed terrific energy to keep going and it was Preston who clinched the win to earn a home tie in the quarter-finals against the winners of Stoke City and Brighton who meet on Friday.

The better of the early play came from the visitors, Nathan Wood forcing North End goalkeeper Callum Roberts into a save at the near post.

It then needed a fine challenge by Cameron Day to take the ball off the toes of Antwia he jinked across the face of the goal.

Cameron Day in action for PNE youth team against AFC Wimbledon

Preston though, worked themselves into the game and went on to have the better of the first half.

Dylan Davidson tested keeper Josef Bursik with a shot from 20 yards and then a bizarre mistake from Bursik almost gifted North End the lead.

Antonio Walker put him under pressure with a lofted back pass, one which Bursik controlled with his chest, only to see the ball bounce up against his head and on to the bar.

The Lilywhites went ahead in the 29th minute, Earl challenging for the ball in the box, flicking it over a defender before finishing left-footed from 12 yards.

Dylan Davidson in the thick of the action for PNE

Six minutes later at the other end, Reece Williams-Bower got behind the PNE defence and lifted a shot over Roberts, the ball looking to be dropping wide before Day mopped up the danger and cleared.

On the stroke of half-time, a cross from the right travelled across the face of the Preston box, a big clearance down the right channel releasing Davidson behind the Wimbledon defence.

Davidson got into the box and hit a low shot which caught a deflection and went just wide of the far post.

The resulting corner was won in the air by Earl, his header just too high.

Josh Earl fires PNE into the lead

North End's first chance of the second half saw Michael Howard find some space down the right but he hurried his shot and dragged it across goal and well wide.

Wimbledon equalised in the 74th minute as they threatened North End's box for the first time in the second half, Antwi caught by Jack Burgoyne and referee Steven Copeland pointing to the penalty spot.

Antwi stepped-up to dispatch the penalty into the roof of the net, giving Roberts no chance.

Moments later, visitors substitute Nicholas Akoto tapped home at the far post but an offside flag chalked that one off.

In the 88th minute, a PNE counter-attack saw Meulensteen play in Howard down the left side of the box, Bursik off his line quickly to narrow the angle and block the winger's shot.

Wimbledon took the lead in the 105th minute, Hartigan's well-struck low shot from 25 yards deceiving Roberts and finding the bottom corner.

Cameron Day in action for PNE youth team against AFC Wimbledon

But four minutes into stoppage-time at the end of the first half of extra-time, PNE sub Tom Barry was tripped by Paul Kalambayi in the box, Mr Copeland awarding his second penalty of the evening - one which Meulensteen sent the keeper the wrong way with.

Preston's winner arrived five minutes from the end of extra-time, the ball falling to Wood 12 yards out who finished with a crisp early finish into the far corner.

PNE: Roberts, Creech, Day, Burgoyne, Lyons, Smart, O'Neil (Wood 80), Howard (Barry100), Meulensteen, Earl, Davidson (Garstang 80). Subs (not used): Stead, Cottam.

AFC Wimbledon: Bursik, Sibbick. Kalambayi, Bird, Walker (Akoto 58), Hartigan, Chapman, Scott, Wood (Carpene 110), Williams-Bowers (Nelson-Roberts 73), Antwi. Subs (not used): Urhoghide, Ogbebor-Onaiwu.

Referee: Steven Copeland (Merseyside)

Attendance: 519

Dylan Davidson in the thick of the action for PNE