Preston North End 0 Brentford 5 match report: PNE hammered by five-star Bees at Deepdale
Preston North End suffered their heaviest defeat for more than four years as play-off chasing Brentford tore them open at Deepdale.
Although they trailed 2-0 at half-time to goals from Bryan Mbeumo and Marcus Forss, the Lilywhites had been well in the game in the first half and could count themselves a touch unfortunate.
The second-half was a different kettle of fish though, the visitors rampant and looking dangerous every time they attacked - that intent coming right from the kick-off after half-time.
Frankie McAvoy's attempt to change things with a triple substitution soon after the interval backfired, with North End offering little threat from that point.
It allowed Brentford to control the game, soaking up pressure and attacking almost at will on the counter.
Their three second-half goals came in the final 14 minutes as Ivan Toney, Sergi Canos and Emiliano Marcondes found the net - PNE crumbling alarmingly.
This was a first defeat for interim head coach McAvoy and it give him plenty to ponder in the next week as he looks to guide North End to the few more points needed to ensure Championship safety.
McAvoy had named an unchanged starting XI to the one which had won at Swansea at Easter Money, Alan Browne and Anthony Gordon returning to the bench.
Before kick-off there was a two minute's silence in honour of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh who died on Friday, aged 99.
North End opened brightly, Bees keeper David Raya having to be quick out to dive at Brad Potts' feet and clear as the midfielder chased Ryan Ledson's pass into the box.
Ledson's seventh minute corner found Jordan Storey who saw his header punched away by Raya, the ball rebounding off a Brentford player and flying behind for a corner.
So it was somewhat against the run of play when the visitors took a ninth-minute lead, Tarique Fosu's pass down the right-wing finding Mads Roerslev in space.
Roerslev got beyond Tom Barkhuizen and crossed low for Mbeumo to find the roof of the net with a confident first-time finish from eight yards.
North End went looking for an equaliser, Potts driving a shot wide from 20 yards after Emil Riis had chased Storey's searching ball into the box and nodded it back into the midfielder's path.
Riis himself went close after a long throw-in from Barkhuizen had been headed clear. The ball fell to the Dane on the edge of the box, his first time shot on target and looking goalbound until a defender put his head in the way to divert it behind.
Barkhuizen sent a shot wide after cutting inside from the left-wing on to his right foot, before PNE were caught out by a second Brentford goal which was similar in its making to the first.
Mathias Jensen's pass from midfield picked-out Roerslav on the right, the Danish wing-back this time crossing low for Forss who tucked a low shot past Daniel Iversen.
In first-half stoppage-time, Ledson was booked for a challenge on Forss which left the striker on the floor.
North End faced some pressure from the visitors in the opening minutes of the second half, Sepp van den Berg getting a good block on Mbeumo's shot to take it across goal and wide of the far post.
The resulting corner was partly cleared by PNE, the ball falling to Fosu on the edge of the box - the midfielder's shot helped over the bar by Iversen's fingertips.
Soon after, Brentford broke on the counter attack, working the ball across the pitch to find Mbeumo down the left side of the box.
As the winger attempted to cross the ball low into the middle, Iversen spread himself well to cut it out.
McAvoy made a triple change in the 53rd minute, Browne, Scott Sinclair and Gordon coming on for Riis, Liam Lindsay and Potts.
It meant a change of formation to a 4-3-3, Sinclair and Gordon either side of Ched Evans.
The game developed a pattern of North End pushing forward with Brentford happy to soak up the pressure and attack on the break.
With an hour played Fosu's pass released Vitaly Janelt into the box but with just Iversen to beat the midfielder pulled his shot high and wide.
PNE's attacking play started to get predictable and a touch desperate, the change in personnel and shape having little affect.
Brentford got their third goal in the 76th minute, the ball fed out to Fosu who took on and beat van den Berg before lifting a cross over to the far post where Toney headed home from close range.
Six minutes the Londoners met it 4-0, Toney's low cross leaving substitute Canos with a tap in.
It could have been five just after, Iversen saving on the line with his right foot from Toney's close-range effort.
In stoppage-time a fifth goal did indeed arrive, Canos' pass releasing Marcondes down the side of the six-yard box.
The substitute drilled a low shot goalwards, it hitting Iversen's leg on its way into the net.
Brentford had been the last team to put five goals past PNE back in September 2016 - this an unwanted repeat.
PNE: Iversen, Storey, Lindsay (Browne 53), Hughes, van den Berg, Ledson, Whiteman (Molumby 76), Potts (Gordon 53), Barkhuizen, Riis (Sinclair 53), Evans (Bodin 76). Subs (not used): Bayliss, Moult, Huntington, Hudson.
Brentford: Raya, Roerslev (Stevens 87), Jansson, Pinnock, Mbeumo, Janelt (Bidstrup 83), Norgaard, Jensen (Marcondes 83), Fosu (Ghoddos 78), Forss (Canos 78), Toney. Subs (not used): Goode, Reid, Sorensen, Daniels.
Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)
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