Former PNE boss Graham Westley’s Peterborough side sent North End crashing out of the FA Cup with a deserved 2-0 victory at London Road.
North End failed to take their chances and clinical Peterborough punished Simon Grayson’s misfiring Championship side.
PNE striker Eoin Doyle was guilty of missing two golden chances. The striker carved out two one-on-one opportunities but failed to hit the target on both occasions.
Doyle’s first chance came in the fourth minute and just three minutes later the Posh’s on-loan starlet Martin Samuelson was allowed space and time to pick his spot and his low 20-yard strike crept into the bottom corner in the seventh minute.
The lively Conor Washington made it two in the second half as he nodded Michael Smith’s cross beyond debutant Chris Kirkland and clinched a place in the fourth round for Westley’s League One side.
PNE’s on-loan keeper Sam Johnstone had not been given permission by parent club Manchester United to play in today’s FA Cup clash and so former England keeper Kirkland played his first game for the Lilywhites.
North End signed Johnstone on a 28-day emergency loan deal on January 1 after Jordan Pickford was recalled from his season long loan by parent club Sunderland.
Lilywhites boss Simon Grayson made three further changes to the side who beat Rotherham 2-1 last weekend.
PaulGallagher and Bailey Wright moved to the bench as Alan Browne and Paul Huntington were recalled to the starting XI.
Midfielder Gallagher had been struggling with a groin injury and centre back Wright was brought off at half-time against Rotherham after he collided with the post and hurt his back.
Centre midfielder Daniel Johnson was ested and so Josh Brownhill made his third start of the campaign.
Aston Villa winger Callum Robinson returned to the club for another loan spell on Tuesday and looked lively when he came off the bench.
It was an even start to the game but it was the Lilywhites who created the first clear cut chance of the game.
Garner’s neat header released Doyle but the striker miss-controlled the ball one-on-one and was unable to get a shot away in the fourth minute.
Just three minutes after Doyle fluffed that golden opportunity clinical Peterborough went up the other end and took the lead.
West Ham loanee Martin Samuelson was not charged down and allowed to unleash a low 20-yard rasping shot that fizzed into the bottom corner.
The goal invigorated Westley’s men and they began to dominate the game.
Posh thought they had doubled their lead in the 13th minute as Angol side-footed the ball home but Washington was penalised for a push and the goal was chalked off.
Kirkland made an impressive one-handed save in the 21st minute as the experienced keeper tipped Harry Beautyman’s explosive volley over the bar.
But North End fought back as Garner nodded the ball into the path of Doyle again. The striker sprinted through on goal but failed to hit the target again as he smashed the ball over the bar from an angle.
Garner leapt high at the back post and nodded the ball towards goal but a back peddling Alnwick just managed to tip the ball over the bar in the 31st minute.
Almeida Santos was booked for an aerial challenge on Garner and Brownhill smashed the subsequent 25-yard set-piece over the bar.
Posh midfielder Forrester rifled the ball straight down Kirkland’s throat from distance as North End started to control possession.
The Lilywhites ended the half strongly but Browne missed an opportunity to level as he sliced Reach’s corner wide from 12-yards out.
Peterborough went for the jugular at the start of the second 45 as Angol raced down the right of the box before squaring the ball to Washington who tried to back heel the ball beyond Kirkland but the giant keeper saved with ease.
Jack Baldwin was booked for a bad challenge on Garner and there was a heated exchange between the pair as the striker squared up to the Posh defender.
But Washington made it two in the 52nd minute as he leapt high in the box and powerfully diverted Smith’s cross past a helpless Kirkland.
Garner headed half-time substitute Gallagher’s corner wide but Peterborough countered minutes later and Washington stung Kirkland’s palms with an electric strike from the left of the box.
Angol appealed for a penalty after he went down under pressure from Huntington but his claim was waved away and Adam Reach was booked for fouling the impressive Samuelson.
Peterborough should have added a third in the 72nd minute but Almeida Santos nodded the ball across goal from three-yards out and was thwarted by Kirkland at the back post as the Posh pumped the ball back into the danger zone.
Gallagher fizzed in a corner from the right and Clarke’s header flew towards the top corner but it was nodded off the line by Smith in the 80th minute.
Clarke was booked for a late one-footed challenge on substitute Marcus Maddison as the clock ticked on and North End’s hopes started to fade away.
But despite a late spell of possession North End failed to find a cutting edge and crashed out of the cup.
PNE: Kirkland, Clarke, Huntington, Cunningham, Reach, Browne, Welsh (Gallagher, 46), Vermijl, Brownhill (Robinson, 56), Garner (Hugill, 75), Doyle. Subs not used: Hudson, Wright, Kilkenny, Woods.
Peterborough: Alnwick, Smith, Baldwin, Oztumer (Maddison, 71), Almeida Santos, Washington, Beautyman, Angol (Coulibaly, 71) Forrester (Fox, 90), Samuelson, Wilson. Subs not used: Curtis Henry, Anderson, Da Silva Lopes, Addison.
Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)
Attendance: 7,665 (589 PNE)