Preston North End 1 Doncaster Rovers 3 - a miserable afternoon at Deepdale for the Lilywhites as they exit the FA Cup

Preston North End's interest in the FA Cup ended at the first hurdle as they were beaten by League One side Doncaster Rovers at Deepdale.

Sunday, 6th January 2019, 3:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 1:20 pm
Preston left-back Andrew Hughes on the ball against Doncaster

It was not a debut to remember for PNE goalkeeper Michael Crowe who was at fault for the second and third Donny goals.

The hosts had to chase the game from the fifth minute when John Marquis headed Rovers in front.

Andrew Hughes, who had struck the post at the end of the first half, equalised for North End 10 minutes into the second half with a header from Paul Gallagher's corner.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Doncaster striker John Marquis gets above PNE right-back Darnell Fisher to head the visitors into the lead at Deepdale

But when Crowe, who until recently was the third-choice keeper, only got a weak glove to Andy Butler's 72nd minute header, Tom Anderson forced the ball home to give Doncaster the lead again.

The visitors made the game safe with three minutes remaining, Crowe letting Mallik Wilks walk the ball round him on the edge of the box before finding the empty net.

North End's performance was flat in general, much of their play being in front of Doncaster in the first half.

They got on the front foot more in the second period as they chased and got the equaliser through left-back Hughes.

However, that work was undone by the poor defending and goalkeeping which handed Donny their path into the fourth round draw.

The North End side had shown two changes from the one beaten at Rotherham on New Year's Day, Crowe in for Declan Rudd and Darnell Fisher replacing Tom Clarke at right-back.

Skipper Clarke had taken another bang in the face during the Rotherham game and Fisher was preferred ahead of him.

In the first 30 seconds, Doncaster skipper Butler was booked for scything down Lukas Nmecha down the right-wing.

Rovers took a fifth minute lead as they broke forward on the counter-attack.

The ball was played out to Wilks on the right who got past Paul Gallagher - Andrew Hughes having stayed inside.

Wilks lifted a cross over the far post where Marquis got above Fisher to send a downward header past Crowe.

Another attack on the break presented a shooting chance to Wilks, the Leeds loanee pulling his effort wide of the near post.

Andrew Hughes had North End's first sight of goal, his powerful shot from the edge of the box beaten away by keeper Ian Lawlor.

There was a scare for PNE in the 14th minute when Marquis connected with a corner from the left to send a header goalwards, Graham Burke kicking off the line.

At the other end, Burke drilled a low shot wide of the near post, Ryan Ledson also not far off target with a first-time drive from the edge of the box.

Twice North End almost levelled in the run-up to the interval.

Hughes' cross was sliced towards his own goal by Benjamin Whiteside, forcing Lawlor into a good reaction save to tip it over the bar.

Then in the 45th minute, Hughes hit a shot from 25 yards which stayed low and struck the foot of the far post before bouncing to safety.

Less than two minutes into the second half Doncaster had a great opportunity to double their lead, courtesy of a mistake in the Preston defence.

Jordan Storey's back pass fell short of Crowe, Wilks stealing in on the edge of the box to take it round the keeper only to shoot into the side-netting.

At the interval, Alan Browne replaced Burke, a like-for-like replacement in the No.10 role behind Nmecha.

Wilks blazed over in the visitors' next attack, that again on the break after North End had lost possession higher up the pitch.

PNE's equaliser arrived in the 55th minute, a straight forward affair from a corner.

Gallagher's first thought was to play the corner on the left short to Daniel Johnson but Alfie May had positioned himself nearby to halt that - the referee having to ask him to retreat the full 10 yards a couple of time.

Instead Gallagher swung it directly into the middle where Hughes rose five yards out to head into the net.

Just past the hour, Fisher chased a ball over the top into the box, his knock back palmed out by Lawlor into the path of Johnson - the midfielder's low shot hitting the keeper and bouncing behind.

Doncaster regained the lead in the 72nd minute, it rather a mess from Preston's point of view.

Danny Andrew curled a free-kick into the box from the visitors' right-wing, one which Browne got in the way of and headed up into the air.

The second ball was won by Butler who headed goalwards, Crowe only able to weakly tip the ball across goal where Anderson poked into the net from close range.

Browne should have equalised when Hughes' cross on the run found him at the far post but the ball seemed to come off the Irishman's shoulder and drop the wrong side of the target.

Victory was wrapped-up by Doncaster with three minutes left, Wilks getting ahead of PNE's two centre-halves in chasing a long ball.

Crowe came to the edge of the box and anticipating Wilks lobbing him, jumped in the air.

But Wilks merely took the ball past him and rolled a shot into the empty net.

PNE: Crowe, Fisher, Storey, Huntington, Hughes, Ledson (Barker 60) Johnson, Barkhuizen, Burke (Browne 46), Gallagher, Nmecha (Maguire 72). Subs (not used): Earl, Clarke, Woods, Rudd.

Doncaster: Lawlor, Blair, Anderson, Butler, Andrew, Crawford (Rowe 85), Whiteman, Kane, Wilks (Sadlier 89), May (Coppinger 64), Marquis. Sub (not used): Horten, Greaves, Lewis, Marosi.

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire)

Attendance: 8,101 (1,308 away)