Preston North End 5 Barnsley 1 - Match report from Deepdale as the Lilywhites go on a goal spree against the Tykes

Daniel Johnson heads Preston into the lead against Barnsley at Deepdale
Daniel Johnson heads Preston into the lead against Barnsley at Deepdale

Preston North End recorded their biggest victory of the season as they put five goals past Barnsley at Deepdale.

Daniel Johnson netted twice, with Tom Barkhuizen, Ben Pearson and substitute Josh Harrop scoring.

Tom Barkhuizen tucks away PNE's second goal of the afternoon

Tom Barkhuizen tucks away PNE's second goal of the afternoon

For Pearson it was the midfielder's first goal for three years - something of a collector's item.

Johnson headed North End into a 31st minute and they should have been further ahead before the visitors equalised just before half-time with a close-range effort from Cameron McGeehan.

But if they hadn't taken their chances in the first half, they certainly did in the second half.

Barkhuizen ran on to a pass from Johnson to make it 2-1, before man of the match Johnson scored his second of the afternoon.

David Nugent in his first start for Preston since rejoining the club

David Nugent in his first start for Preston since rejoining the club

A superb run by Barkhuizen set up Pearson for the fourth goal, before Harrop scored within four minutes of coming off the bench to complete the scoring.

It was the first time North End had scored five in a Championship since April 2017, while it matched the 5-1 win over Wycombe in the FA Cup in January 2018.

Alex Neil had made two changes to the North End starting XI from the side which drew at Middlesbrough in midweek.

Nugent and Paul Gallagher came into the team, with Darnell Fisher suspended and Harrop dropping down to the bench.

Alan Browne moved to right-back to cover the loss of Fisher, with Gallagher partnering Pearson in midfield.

Nugent led the attack, with Barkhuizen on the right-wing and Sean Maguire playing from the left.

PNE had some good early chances, Johnson's shot from the edge of the box parried by Ben Collins with Maguire scuffing the follow-up straight back to the goalkeeper.

Maguire should have scored when Johnson pulled the ball back to him from the byline, the Irishman putting his shot too close to the keeper who saved.

Nugent met a fine cross from Joe Rafferty and sent a header over the bar from 10 yards, while the visitors' first chance of note was a shot from Jacob Brown who went well wide.

Preston made the breakthrough just after the half-hour mark, Nugent picking up possession centrally and feeding a pass into Barkhuizen's path.

Barkhuizen's shot from the edge of the box was parried up into the air by Collins, Johnson following-up to loop a header back over the keeper into the net for his sixth goal of the season.

North End should have doubled that lead six minutes later, Johnson getting down the left hand side of the box and crossing low for Maguire in front of goal.

But from eight yards Maguire's shot was blocked by Collins with his legs.

The misses in the first half proved costly as Barnsley pulled level two minutes before the interval.

Mike Bahre's corner from the left travelled beyond the far post where Conor Chaplin turned it back towards the middle.

Ben Davies put in a block but the ball ran to McGeehan who shot home from six yards.

North End regained the lead five minutes into the second half, breaking down the left channel to good effect.

Maguire's pass found Johnson who turned a lovely ball inside to free Barkhuizen behind the Barnsley back line.

Barkhuizen's first touch took him into the box, his second saw him roll a shot past Collins as he came out to try and block.

On the hour, Nugent missed the chance to lift the roof off Deepdale when he missed a glorious chance to score his first Preston goal since April 2007.

Barkhuizen's cross from the right was headed on by Maguire, the ball falling to Nugent in space in the box.

The striker chested it down but then screwed a right-foot shot across goal and wide of the post.

It mattered not as Preston quickly scored twice and added another later on.

Within sixty seconds of Nugent's miss, they made it 3-1, Gallagher's pass sending Johnson clear on goal. He ran through and lifted a shot over the keeper.

North End's fourth goal followed in the 64th minute, Barkhuizen showing a ridiculous burst of pace to skin Barnsley down their left hand side.

Cutting inside, Barkhuizen lifted a cross over the far post where Pearson stretched to meet it and lifted a shot into the roof of the net.

Not since a 2-0 win over Aston Villa on October 1, 2016, had the midfielder scored for PNE.

It got even better in the 77th minute as the Lilywhites netted their fifth goal of the afternoon.

Johnson pressed the ball and won it just outside the box, Harrop chasing it into the box and lifting a shot over the keeper as he raced off his line to try and clear.

Harrop and Collins continued to chase it towards the line, the ball bouncing in before Harrop got another touch for good measure.

In stoppage-time Preston almost scored a sixth as substitute Brad Potts lifted a lob over the keeper but on to the top of the net.

They continued to push, Jayden Stockley putting a header straight at the keeper after meeting a Gallagher corner, while another Potts effort was deflected for a corner.

PNE: Rudd, Browne, Bauer, Davies, Rafferty, Pearson, Gallagher, Barkhuizen (Potts 82), Johnson, Maguire (Stockley 73), Nugent (Harrop 73). Subs (not used): Storey, Ledson, Bodin, Hudson.

Barnsley: Collins, J Williams (Green 82), Halme, Sibbick, B Williams, Mowatt, McGeehan, Brown (Wilks 55), Bahre (Styles 67), Chaplin, Woodrow. Subs (not used): Anderson,Thomas, Pinillos, Walton.

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)

Attendance: 12,431 (1,339 away)