Stevenage 1 PNE 4

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Preston North End romped to their biggest away win of the season, putting four goals past Graham Westley’s former club Stevenage at Broadhall Way.

Goals from Stuart Beavon, Jack King, Jeffrey Monakana and Nicky Wroe brought the three points home from Hertfordshire.

Boro had little answer to a powerful North End performance, much to the delight of the 556 travelling PNE supporters.

And the margin of victory could have been even greater such were the number of chances carved out by the visitors.

Beavon fired them into a sixth minute lead, before Greg Tansey’s 20-yard strike brought the hosts level after a quarter of an hour.

King restored the advantage in the 32nd minute and there was no looking back for Westley’s men from then on.

A fine solo effort from Monakana stretched the lead in the 58th minute, with Wroe’s powerful finish rounding things off in the 72nd minute.

Westley had made three changes on his return to the club who he guided to back-to-back promotions before leaving in January to join Preston.

Lee Holmes, Monakana and John Welsh came into the starting XI, with Welsh given the captain armband.

From the side which started the 1-1 with Carlisle in midweek, Paul Huntington missed out through suspension, Joel Byrom dropped down to the bench while David Amoo travelled but didn’t make the match day squad.

There were returns for John Mousinho and David Buchanan to the bench after illness and injury respectively.

Stevenage included former North End players David Gray, Patrick Agyemang and Chris Day in their squad, with Gray starting at right-back while Agyemang and keeper Day were among the substitutes.

PNE took a sixth minute lead, the Stevenage defence having failed to clear a cross into the box.

Lee Holmes poked the ball into the path of Beavon who slammed a shot over keeper Steve Arnold into the roof of the net from 12 yards.

It was an advantage they could easily have doubled within three minutes, a Scott Laird effort blocked on the line with Holmes putting the rebound wide from 10 yards.

Stevenage levelled in the 15th minute after Filipe Morais’ shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Lucas Akins played the flag kick to Tansey 20 yards out, he side-stepped a challenge before driving a shot into the far bottom corner of the net.

In the 22nd minute, Marcus Haber burst through the North End defence into the box but took a heavy touch which allowed Steve Simonsen to dive at his feet and smother.

PNE regained the lead just after the half hour, a Keith Keane cross having bypassed everyone in the penalty area and looked destined to go out of play on the far side.

Monakana kept it in, cut into the box and squared the ball into the path of Jack King.

He scuffed his shot but it took a big deflection off Boro skipper Mark Roberts to wrong-foot Arnold and go over the line.

Just before the interval, Holmes’ hung a cross up to the back post which Bondz N’Gala headed inches wide of his own goal.

In the early stages of the second half, a low cross from Tansey was gathered on the floor by Simonsen at his near post.

North End netted their third goal of the afternoon in the 58th minute, Monakana winning a challenge just outside the centre-circle.

He surged forwards, weaved past a couple of tackles, before striking a right-foot shot from the edge of the box which beat Arnold’s dive and nestled in the bottom corner.

Stevenage responded with Roberts looping a header into Simonsen’s gloves, while substitute Agyemang fired over the bar after a mazy run had taken him inside from the right-wing.

PNE’s fourth goal was a beauty, a result of the best move of the game, Beavon starting it by getting behind the home defence on the left.

The striker’s cross into the box found Monakana who helped it on to King, his lay-off falling to Wroe 20 yards out who thundered home a first-time finish with his right foot.

Monakana was stretchered off in the 80th minute after being on the end of an innocuous-looking challenge, Buchanan replacing him.

Twice in the closing stages the ever-willing Beavon went close to further stretching the lead.

He looped a header just over the bar, and in PNE’s next attack, his powerful shot brought a fine save from Arnold.

In the last minute, Laird drove an effort inches wide of the near post after bursting on to a Buchanan pass.

Stevenage: Arnold, Gray, Roberts, N’Gala, Charles, Tansey (Agyemang 61), Grant, Morais (Freeman 67), Dunne, Akins, Haber (Shroot 78). Subs: Hills,Rogers, Risser, Day.

PNE: Simonsen, Keane, Robertson, Wright, Laird, Monakana (Buchanan 80), Wroe, Welsh, Holmes (Mousinho 64), King (Cummins 90), Beavon. Subs: Sodje, Byrom, Procter, Stuckmann.

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

Attendance: 3,740