Match report: Cobh Ramblers 0 PNE 5

Tom Barkhuizen scored a hat-trick in PNE's win against Cobh Ramblers
Tom Barkhuizen scored a hat-trick in PNE's win against Cobh Ramblers

Tom Barkhuizen struck a hat-trick to help Preston North End to victory against Cobh Ramblers.

The pre-season friendly was played at Cork City's Turners Cross and all eyes were on returning hero Sean Maguire who helped Cork to the League of Ireland title last season.

PNE skipper Tom Clarke

PNE skipper Tom Clarke

But Barkhuizen stole the show with a first-half hat-trick, the treble his first goals of the summer build-up.

North End skipper Tom Clarke was also on target before half-time, with Graham Burke completing the scoring late on in the contest.

Alex Neil's men have scored 18 goals in their three friendlies to date, having also beaten Bamber Bridge 7-0 and AFC Fylde 6-1.

Sterner tests will follow when they face Premier League duo West Ham United (Saturday) and Burnley (Monday) at Deepdale.

Graham Burke

Graham Burke

Like at AFC Fylde Neil went for a 60-30 approach in terms of minutes on the pitch, changing the full XI after an hour.

The starters in Ireland were those who had come on as substitutes last Saturday, that ensuring an equal share of time on the pitch.

PNE, who are spending the week training at Fota Island, took just five minutes to go in front. with Barkhuizen finding the bottom corner with a good finish.

The former Morecambe man doubled the lead in the 17th minute with a fine individual goal, coming inside from the flank and firing past the keeper.

Chances for Ryan Ledson, Alan Browne and Billy Bodin followed, while at the other end Preston keeper Declan Rudd saved well from Stephen Kenny.

Clarke made it 3-0 in the 39th minute, rising at the far post to head home Bodin's cross.

Then on the stroke of half-time, Barkhuizen closed down keeper Adam Mylod and forced the ball home.

After the break Cian Leonard had a couple of chances for Cobh who play in the League of Ireland First Division.

The chances continued after the change of team, Louis Moult, Daryl Horgan, Josh Harrop and Burke having efforts.

North End wrapped-up the scoring seven minutes from time when they were awarded a free-kick just outside the box after a foul on Callum Robinson.

Former Shamrock Rovers man Burke hit the free-kick low past the wall and into the net.

PNE: Rudd (Maxwell 60), Woods (Fisher 60), Clarke (Huntington 60), Storey (Davies 60), Hughes (Johnson 60), Ledson (Pearson 60), Gallagher (Harrop 60), Bodin (Horgan 60), Browne (Burke 60), Barkhuizen (Robinson), Maguire (Moult 60).