Preston North End Under-18s 3 Norwich City Under-18s 0 - Lilywhites youngsters progress in the FA Youth Cup

Preston North End Under-18s moved into the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup with victory over Norwich City at snowy Deepdale.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 7:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 9:23 pm
Preston skipper Adam O'Reilly in action against Norwich in the FA Youth Cup - photo: Dave Kendall/PNE

It was a well deserved win over the Canaries who are a category one academy - North End are category three.

They made light of that differece in status on the pitch, goals from Adam O'Reilly, Lewis Earl and Louis Potts booking them a home tie with Bury in the next round.

O'Reilly and Earl struck nine minutes apart in the run-up to half-time, with Potts netting in the 70th minute.

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Preston striker Louis Potts controls the ball against Norwich City - photo: Dave Kendall/PNE

North End were strong from the off, Ethan Walker catching the eye early on with his pace down the left-wing.

His cross from the side of box just evaded Tyrhys Dolan in the third minute, while his free-kick shortly afterwards clipped a Norwich leg and flew just the post.

Walker, who made his first-team debut against Aston Villa on December 29, sent a low shot from 20 yards inches wide as North End maintained their pressure.

Then a driving run through midfield ended with him shooting just over the bar from the edge of the box.

PNE took the lead in the 34th minute, Potts' run taking him down the right channel before cutting inside towards the box.

Potts squared the ball into the path of skipper O'Reilly who swept a shot into the bottom corner from just inside the box.

Norwich rallied with Isak Thorvaldsson sending a close-range header straight at Jimmy Corcoran.

North End keeper Corcoran then pushed Saul Milovanovic's low shot from distance past the post.

Earl doubled the lead two minutes before half-time, rising at the far post to meet a Dolan corner and head into the net.

Snow began to fall steadily during the interval and continued in the second half, giving the pitch more than a light dusting.

Norwich started the second period on the front foot as they looked to try and claw back the deficit.

It needed two blocks from Earl in quick succession to prevent the visitors getting back into it, while Adam Idah - a former team-mate of O'Reilly in their school days in Ireland - fired a free-kick too high.

Preston rode that pressure and scored their third goal with 20 minutes remaining.

Dolan, Lewis Coulton and substitute Jerome Jolly were all involved in the build-up, Jolly's ball knocked home from close range by Potts.

The assistant flagged for offside but referee Steve Copeland overruled him, pointing out that the ball had clipped off Norwich skipper Louis Lomas into Potts' path, playing him onside.

North End thought they had scored a fourth goal in the 74th minute when O'Reilly met Jolly's cross from the left and slid it goalwards.

The ball was cleared seemingly from behind the line and the referee waved play on, goal line technology not in use.

PNE: Corcoran, Simmons, Earl, McFayden, Coulton, Baxter, O'Reilly, Dolan, Pollard, Walker (Jolly 55) Potts. Subs (not used): Williams, Nolan, Brannigan, Cottam.

Norwich: Barden, Vaughan, Omobamidele, Lomas, Ahmadi, Hondermarack (Omotoye 63), Dronfield, Milovanovic, Olopade (Giurgi 80), Idah, Thorvaldsson. Subs (not used): Berkeley, Richardson, Blair.

Referee: Steve Copeland (Merseyside)

Attendance: 620