Match report: PNE 5 Bristol City 0

Preston North End ran riot against Bristol City against Deepdale, recording their biggest win of the season to keep the play-off dream alive.

Tuesday, 4th April 2017, 11:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:22 pm
Aiden McGeady scores from the penalty spot.

They demolished the Robins, with four of their goals coming in 21-minute spell in the second half.

Victory kept them in eighth place and reduced the gap on the top six to five points with six games to play.

Tom Barkhuizen set the ball rolling with the opener in the 25th minute, that the January signing's sixth goal in six starts.

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Captain Tom Clarke is mobbed after scoring PNE's third goal.

While North End were on top in the first half there was little sign of the goal romp which would come after the break.

Birthday-boy Aiden McGeady netted from the penalty spot in the first minute of the second half after Callum Robinson had been fouled, then skipper Tom Clarke powered home a header for the third.

Robinson bagged two in four minutes to complete the rout, this spelling a miserable return to Preston for ex-PNE pair Bailey Wright and Josh Brownhill.

Simon Grayson had made two changes to the North End starting XI, Robinson and Alex Baptiste replacing Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle.

Callum Robinson scores PNE's fifth of the night.

That was the double change Grayson had made at half-time in last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest, it sparking a second-half comeback.

While a 3-4-1-2 had been used to good effect in the second half of the Forest game, it was back to 4-4-2 for this one.

Clarke stayed at right-back, with Baptiste partnering Paul Huntington in the centre of defence.

It was a busy opening spell, Jordan Hugill running beyond the visitors' defence to meet a pass from Ben Pearson but lifting his shot too high.

Captain Tom Clarke is mobbed after scoring PNE's third goal.

PNE keeper Chris Maxwell was booked inside the third minute for tripping Tammy Abraham as he charged out of his box to challenge for the ball out on the wing.

Paul Gallagher's shot from 25 yards stayed low and forced Frank Fielding to dive and palm it behind for a corner.

McGeady should have scored with 12 minutes gone, his shot from 10 yards after being teed-up by Robinson's pass saved by Fielding

North End took the lead in the 25th minute, McGeady's persistence helping create it.

Callum Robinson scores PNE's fifth of the night.

After being blocked off when making a run, he kept possession and fed a pass out to Robinson on the left side of the box.

Robinson squared a pass inside to Barkhuizen who picked his spot with a low left-foot shot from 12 yards, the finish not having a great deal of power but was well placed.

Wright had the Robins' best chance of the first half, his shot on the turn after David Cotterill's free-kick had fallen to him, held at the second attempt by Maxwell diving to his left.

McGeady met a Robinson cross from the right with a shot from the edge of the box which went just wide, then the pair combined again - just the other way round - with McGeady's pass finding Robinson who saw his shot drift wide of the far post.

The Lilywhites went goal crazy in the opening spell of the second half, finding the net four times in a little over 20 minutes

Just 50 seconds after the re-start, Barkhuizen's pass found Robinson in the box, the front man taking a touch before being sent tumbling by Aden Flint's challenge.

Referee Andrew Madley pointed to the spot, McGeady confidently dispatching the penalty past Fielding who went the right way but go nowhere near it.

They stretched the lead in the 54th minute, Gallagher whipping in a free-kick from the right channel which Clarke met with a thumping header from inside the six-yard box which flew into the net giving Fielding no chance.

Within 10 minutes the home side got their fourth, and what a flowing team goal it was.

Gallagher set the ball rolling with a fine pass out to Barkhuizen down the right channel, a slip from City left-back Joe Bryan affording the former Morecambe man space to run into.

Barkuizen got into the box and could have shot but unselfishly rolled a great ball across the box which took out the keeper and last covering defender, leaving Robinson with the simple task of side-footing into the net.

Robinson was quickly on the scoresheet again to make it 5-0, Gallagher playing a corner on the right short to McGeady who crossed low to the near post.

The ball squirmed under a defender and into the path of Robinson who poked it home from close range.

PNE: Maxwell, Clarke, Baptiste, Hunginton, Cunningham, Barkhuizen (Beckford 78), Pearson (Johnson 71), Gallagher, McGeady (Horgan 71) Robinson, Hugill. Subs (not used): Browne, Makienok, Boyle, Lindegaard.

Bristol City: Fielding, Smith, Flint, Wright, Bryan, Pack (Magnusson 56), Hegeler (Brownhill 72), Cotterill, Tomlin, O'Dowda (Wilbraham 56), Abraham. Subs (not used): Taylor, Reid, Paterson, Giefer.

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Attendance: 10,224 (312 away)