Match report: PNE 1 Sheffield United 0 (FA Youth Cup)

PNE's Deepdale
PNE's Deepdale
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Preston North End progressed to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup thanks to a narrow victory over Sheffield United at Deepdale.

The contest's only goal came early, PNE skipper Melle Meulensteen scoring from the penalty spot after Oscar O'Neil had been tripped in the box.

It was a lead the home side clung on to for the remainder of the game, Lilywhites goalkeeper Callum Roberts pulling off some good saves to keep the visiting Blades at bay.

North End took a fifth minute lead, O'Neil's surge into the box was halted by Tom Charlesworth's challenge, referee Barry Lamb pointing to the spot.

Meulensteen stepped-up to confidently slot the penalty past Blades goalkeeper Josh Perryman.

The visitors went on to enjoy a good spell of pressure, Roberts having to make saves from Jordan Hallam and Tyler Smith.

Good build-up-play down PNE's right set up a chance for Meulensteen but the midfielder lifted his shot over the bar from the edge of the box.

It was Meulensteen who should stretched the lead in the 33rd minute, Tom Stead's pass sending Josh Earl into plenty of space down the left channel.

Earl powered forward, squaring a pass inside to Meulensteen who was a bit too causal with his shot and put it too close to Perryman who saved.

Roberts was called into action to make two good saves early in the second half.

He showed good agility to block Smith's low shot from 10 yards with his feet, then a few minutes later, dived low to his right to palm away Regan Slater's powerful drive - Slater impressive in the centre of the United midfield.

As the second half progressed, it was United who kept the pressure on, with North End reliant on the counter-attack.

One such break saw Earl show a good burst of speed down the left to go past his marker and put over a low cross which just evaded Harry Garstang and was held at the second attempt by Perryman.

North End introduced fresh legs in the shape of Leon Creech and Akwasi Kwateng in the closing minutes as they sought to see the game through, with Michael Howard replacing the limping Cameron Day who had been impressive throughout at the heart of the defence.

But they were nearly undone in the 86th minute when Blades substitute Joseph Cummings broke clear on goal, it needing another good piece of goalkeeping from Roberts to spread himself and block the shot.

They saw out five minutes of added on time, during which Dylan Davidson hit the outside of the post from a tight angle, but the ball had already gone out of play as he cut along the byline.

PNE: Roberts, Burgoyne, Day (Howard 88), Stead, Campbell, Davidson, Smart, O'Neil (Creech 82), Earl, Meulensteen, Garstang (Kwateng 84). Subs (not used): Mason, Lenton.

United: Perryman, Charlesworth. Graham, Semple, Cantrill (Cummings 56), Smith, Slater, Gilmour, Mallon (Greaves 73), Hallam, Burton (Parkhouse 67). Subs (not used): Ford, Warhurst.

Referee: Barry Lamb (Manchester)