Match report: PNE 3 Burnley 2

Marnick Vermijl
Marnick Vermijl

Preston North End leant on experience to see off a youthful Burnley side and progress to the second round of the Lancashire Senior Cup.

The depth of the PNE squad allowed Alex Neil to field a full XI of players with first-team experience in Tuesday afternoon's clash at the Springfields training ground.

Josh Harrop, Paul Gallagher, John Welsh, Tommy Spurr, Declan Rudd, Calum Woods and Callum Robinson were among those to get a run out.

Harrop got his name on the scoresheet, netting PNE’s third goal which followed an own goal and a fine strike from Marnick Vermijl.

All the contest’s goals came in an entertaining first-half, to be exact all were squashed into a 20-minute spell.

North End manager Neil watched intently from the touchline, pleased to have the chance to look at his squad in competitive action ahead of a six-game September.

They lined-up 4-4-1-1, with Harrop behind Robinson, while the experienced Welsh and Gallagher anchored the centre of midfield.

Woods, in his first competitive outing for more than a year after a cruciate ligament injury, started at right-back with Vermijl in front of him on the right-wing.

PNE got a helping hand with their opening goal in the 25th minute, Arlen Birch heading into his own net as he attempted to stop Robinson’s cross reaching Gallagher.

The Clarets equalised 11 minutes later, an inch-perfect free-kick from Jamie Thomas staying low and beating Rudd.

Vermijl restored Preston’s lead in the 40th minute, the ball worked from left to right across the pitch with Kevin O’Connor, Harrop and Ben Pringle all playing their part.

Pringle’s pass played in Vermijl on the overlap, the Belgian driving into the box and finishing with a low shot across the keeper.

It was a lead which PNE stretched two minutes later.

Robinson got down the left side of the box and pulled the ball back from the byline, Harrop nodding home from close range.

But sixty seconds before the break Andy Boyle’s back pass fell short, with Khius Metz stealing in to steer a shot past Rudd.

Robinson worked the keeper three times in quick succession after the break without finding a way through, while there was a let-off for PNE when Tinashe Chawana struck the post with a shot from an narrow angle.

The home side held out against some late Burnley pressure, Harrop, Welsh and Gallagher all having departed the action in the second half.

For North End, Spurr was probably pick of the bunch, turning in a fine performance in the centre of defence - his distribution very good.

Harrop was lively in his hour on the pitch, while Welsh, Woods and Gallagher boosted their fitness levels.

Preston: Rudd, Vermijl, Boyle, Spurr, O’Connor, Woods, Gallagher (Garstang 71), Welsh (O’Neil 71), Pringle, Harrop (Meulensteen 63), Robinson. Subs (not used): Roberts, Stead.

Burnley: Stone, Birch, Koiki, Howarth (N’Guessan 80), Flowers, Younger, Bayode, Nabi, Metz (Wilson 86), Thomas (McNeil 83), Tinashe.

Referee: David Underwood