Match report: Wycombe 1 PNE 5

Preston North End turned in a dominant performance as they put five goals past Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup at Adams Park.

Saturday, 6th January 2018, 4:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th January 2018, 5:15 pm
Alan Browne scores PNE's second goal

Alex Neil's men didn't look back after taking the lead inside the opening 90 seconds and were rarely troubled by their League Two hosts.

Josh Harrop and Alan Browne both netted twice, with the other goal a deflected effort from Daryl Horgan.

Wycombe's goal had reduced the deficit to 2-1 at half-time but in the second half North End really turned the screw.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Josh Harrop and Daryl Horgan converge on the Wycombe keeper

Victory was achieved without some of their big guns, Ben Pearson, Jordan Hugill, Chris Maxwell and Ben Davies all left at home to rest.

Harrop set North End on their way with a free-kick after 83 seconds, Browne doubling the lead with the best finish of the game from outside the box.

Luke O'Nien pulled one back just before the interval before Horgan hit PNE's third early in the second half.

Browne got the fourth from the penalty spot with Harrop wrapping things up with a late header from Greg Cunningham's cross.

Josh Harrop and Daryl Horgan converge on the Wycombe keeper

Neil had made six changes to the side, rotating his squad after the busy Christmas and New Year programme.

Billy Bodin came in for his debut after signing from Bristol Rovers during the week, while there was a rare start in midfield for John Welsh.

Declan Rudd came into the team for his first competitive start since joining North End in the summer from Norwich - his last appearance for the club had been in the 2014 play-offs when on loan.

North End were in their usual 4-2-3-1 system, Browne partnering Welsh in the engine room while Bodin played on the right side of the attack with Horgan on the left.

Callum Robinson played as the central striker, supported by Harrop in the No,10 role.

It was Harrop who gave PNE a great start, giving them the lead with one minute and 27 seconds on the clock.

Horgan's run towards the box was halted by a foul 20 yards out, referee Peter Bankes awarding a free-kick.

Bodin and Harrop stood over it, it looking like Bodin was shaping to shoot left-footed.

But it was Harrop who struck it, curling a right-foot shot over the wall and into the top corner.

Preston bossed the play for a good 20 minutes after that, their pace up front causing Wycombe all sorts of problems.

A move on the counter-attack saw Horgan and Robinson link-up to play in Harrop, his shot hitting keeper Scott Brown and looping over the bar for a corner.

When that corner was cleared by the home defence, Welsh chased the ball out to the right-wing and delivered a cross to the far post which skipper Tom Clarke headed wide.

Robinson drove a right-foot shot over the angle of bar and near post after surging into the box, then Harrop came inside from the left hand side and hit a low shot which was blocked by a defender.

In the 23rd minute, Robinson got the ball in the box - wide of goal - and struck a low shot which the keeper saved with his legs at the near post.

Wycombe had a spell of pressure, Nick Freeman seeing a shot deflected wide by a Preston boot after Adebayo Akinfenwa had won the ball in the air to knock it into Freeman's path.

Freeman then returned the favour, his cross finding Akinfenwa who put a header back across goal and wide of the far post.

North End scored their second goal in the 38th minute and what a fine finish it was too from Browne.

Horgan created the initial danger with a run down the left and a low cross into the middle which Wycombe left-back Joe Jacobson did well to clear out of the six-yard box as Robinson closed in.

The ball fell to Browne more than 20 yards out who let it bounce before lashing a first-time left-foot shot into the top corner.

From nowhere Wycombe cut the deficit in the 45th minute, just after Rudd had dived to his right to parry a shot from Freeman.

The ball came out to O'Nien on the right hand side of the box, his effort from a tight angle hitting Horgan at the near post and taking it beyond Rudd into the net.

However, North End restored their two-goal cushion six minutes into the second half.

Horgan had already showed a clean pair of heels to half-time substitute Will De Havilland when he set off on another run down the left channel.

The Irishman went past right-back De Havilland in the box and hit a low shot which clipped off Dan Scarr and beat keeper Brown.

After an hour's play, a shot from Robinson from just inside the box travelled across the box and inches wide of the target.

North End were presented with a great chance in the 71st minute as Scarr's pass across his own box was intercepted by Horgan but one-on-one with the keeper, Brown came out of top and blocked his shot.

They made it 4-1 with 12 minutes remaining, the goal coming from the penalty spot.

Bodin swung over a corner from the right and as Paul Huntington went to meet it, Scarr pulled his shirt - Mr Bankes pointing to the spot.

Browne stepped up and struck the spot kick confidently into the net.

Calum Woods, who had been injured winning the corner which led to the penalty, limped off as North End made a double change after the goal - Andy Boyle and Daniel Johnson coming on with Bodin also replaced.

They weren't satisfied with four goals, going on to score a fifth in the 85th minute on the counter-attack.

Cunningham chased a ball out of midfield down the left channel and put over a beautiful cross on the run which Harrop headed home.

Wycombe: Browne, Bean, Scarr, El-Abd, Jacobson (Cowan-Hall 78), O'Nein, Bloomfield (Kashket 70), Saunders (De Havilland 46), Freeman, Tyson, Akinfenwa. Subs (not used): Gape, Southwell, Mackail-Smith, Ma-Kalambay.

PNE: Rudd, Woods (Boyle 78), Clarke, Huntington, Cunningham, Welsh, Browne, Bodin (Johnson 78), Harrop, Horgan, Robinson (Gallagher 84). Subs (not used): Vermijl, O'Connor, Barkhuizen, Hudson.

Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)

Attendance: 4,928