Preston North End 4-0 Mansfield Town - Match report as PNE make it look easy on competitive return

Preston North End are through to the second round of the Carabao Cup after beating Mansfield Town 4-0 at Deepdale.

Saturday, 29th August 2020, 4:59 pm
Updated Sunday, 30th August 2020, 11:48 am

Far from a traditional curtain raiser, North End were forced to play the first round of the cup behind closed doors and weeks before the start to their league campaign due to a combination of the coronavirus and international matches.

The Lilywhites were in control throughout and goals from Tom Barkhuizen, Sean Maguire, Patrick Bauer and Josh Harrop

Maguire had the first chance of the game four minutes in, an inviting cross from Barkhuizen headed towards goal well by the Irishman and Marek Stech beat it away.

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Tom Barkhuizen celebrates opening the scoring at Deepdale.

Mansfield hit the post after 12 minutes, Andy Cook capitalising on a defensive error and a good cross in to strike towards goal, beating Conor Ripley and clattering the far post, the ball almost coming straight back to him.

In the 14th minute North End would break the deadlock, a long ball forward from Ripley was headed on by Maguire and Brad Potts played it into Barkhuizen's path first time on the turn with the winger finishing with aplomb.

Maguire would then have the finishing touch in the 23rd minute, receiving a well-weighted through ball from Josh Harrop to play him in behind before calmly finishing on his left foot into the far corner.

James Perch picked up the first booking of the game, sliding in late on Tom Bayliss as he came forward from midfield.

Potts would be the next to shy an effort towards the Mansfield net, neat work between Barkhuizen and Maguire left the former with the chance to cross but North End's no.44 couldn't keep the header down.

The home side would extend their lead after 28 minutes, Harrop's corner just evading Alan Browne at the near post but not Bauer at the far post, the German slotting the ball home.

Ben Pearson wasted no time in picking up his first yellow card of the season, just over half an hour in the midfielder was in the book for a foul on half way.

There was a rare chance at the North End goal as a result of the free kick, Town skipper Ryan Sweeney glancing a header past the far post, with Ripley seeing it all the way.

In stoppage time of the first half, Josh Earl found himself in the Mansfield area, picking up a loose ball from a slide tackle on Harrop, but his strike was blocked - keeping the score at 3-0 going into the break.

Just seconds into the second half the visitors carved out a chance, a cross in from the right landed at the feet of Cook who struck on the volley but his effort was always rising.

Seven minutes into the second half Preston nearly made it four, Harrop setting off into the Mansfield box, beating several defenders before running out of room and the ball eventually presenting itself to Bayliss. His side footed shot seemed to take a bit of a deflection and Marek Stech just about managed to correct a dive into the corner to save with his legs.

As the game slowed down Mansfield made a double change, Perch and Farrend Rawson making way for Aaron O'Driscoll and Tyrese Sinclair, moments later the pair would have even more work to do.

A nice flowing move from the Lilywhites in the 65th minute saw Potts feed the ball wide to Barkhuizen and his low cross was collected then dispatched into the back of the net by Josh Harrop, extending the lead to four.

Preston made their own changes in the 70th minute, Ben Pearson and Tom Bayliss making way for Ryan Ledson and Joe Rafferty, with the former almost immediately having an impact.

Ledson's pass from midfield found a run from Barkhuizen who nodded towards goal but missed the target from the centre of the area, where he could have easily made it five.

With seventeen minutes to go, Alex Neil withdrew goalscorer Maguire after a very productive afternoon, in his place Scott Sinclair occupied the number nine postition.

John Dempster made his final change in the 77th minute, Rose making way for Jamie Reid.

Shortly after, Potts tried to extend North End's lead to five but he couldn't keep the ball down from the edge of the area.

Paul Huntington joined Pearson in the referee's book in the 83rd minute, handballing on the edge of the box to prevent Mansfield coming forward down the right.

Mansfield almost had a consolation in the final minute of the game, North End failing to deal with a cross into the box and Ripley punching as far as Sincalir but his effort was cleared away by Huntington behind the 'keeper.

A flurry of corners for the visitors followed in stoppage time but they couldn't find a goal.

PNE Starting XI: Ripley, Browne, Huntington, Bauer, Earl, Pearson (Rafferty, 70'), Bayliss (Ledson, 70'), Barkhuizen, Potts, Harrop, Maguire (Sinclair, 74').

PNE Subs not used: Hudson, Davies, Stockley, Bodin.

Mansfield Starting XI: Stech, Menayese, Rawson (O'Driscoll, 64'), Sweeney, O'Keeffe, Perch (Sinclair, 64'), Maris, Charsley, Benning, Rose (Reid, 76'), Cook.

Mansfield Subs not used: Stone, Clark, Knowles, Smith.