PNE in Numbers: Alex Neil's side coming on strong late in games
It might have been an afternoon where Preston took their foot off the gas a little bit.
But it was an impressive, ruthless display in the 5-1 FA Cup victory at Wycombe last time out, Alex Neil’s side dismissing their League Two opposition in some style on Saturday.
North End started quickly thanks to Josh Harrop’s free-kick after just 87 seconds and there was no let up from there.
Not content with three goals PNE added two in the final 12 minutes, Alan Browne scoring a second of the day from the spot before a header from a fine Greg Cunningham cross also meant Harrop ended the afternoon with two goals.
It continued a trend that we have seen from Neil’s men by and large this season.
Harrop’s fine set piece into the top corner of Scott Brown’s goal was just the second goal of the season in the opening 15 minutes of games.
As against Gareth Ainsworth’s Chairboys, the most prolific period of games has been the final quarter of an hour, the two against Wycombe meaning 11 of the 37 goals in all competitions have been scored between minutes 75 and 90.
It completed North End’s highest score in the competition since the 6-0 win over Barnet at Deepdale in 2013, Paul Gallagher becoming the first loan player to score a hat-trick for the club on that day.
Saturday’s victory was also only the second time PNE have ever scored five goals in an away tie in the FA Cup.
The only previous occasion was a third round replay in 1932 when Preston won 5-2 at Burnden Park to put out Bolton Wanderers after a goalless draw on home soil.
Before Harrop headed home number five at Adams Park, Browne had impressively dispatched from the spot in the absence of Daniel Johnson and Gallagher.
In doing so he became the 102nd player to score a penalty for PNE with what was the club’s 36th successful spot kick in the FA Cup.
He is the 24th player to score from the spot for North End in the competition, Moses Sanders being the first in a first round tie in February 1895 as Preston lost 4-1 to Sunderland.
Browne’s was the first North End FA Cup penalty since Callum Robinson completed his hat-trick at Havant and Waterlooville in the first round in November 2014.
Attentions turn back to league matters at Millwall on Saturday with Jordan Hugill likely to make his 150th career appearance having been rested at Wycombe after seeing 2,209 minutes of action so far this season.
With thanks to Martin Atherton for the stats