By Jack Wynne – Online Sports Editor
Preston North End secured their place in the second round of the Capital One Cup with victory over Crewe.
Inside five minutes and PNE took the lead courtesy of a penalty kick from Jordan Hugill – the 23-year-old winning the penalty after being tripped by Crewe keeper Ben Garratt.
Will Keane doubled North End’s advantage in the 13th minute, firing a low shot from 12 yards after Hugill’s initial header was blocked.
Just under ten minutes before half-time and Adam King pulled a goal back for The Railwaymen, nestling a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Josh Brownhill ensured progression to the next round with an assured finish from 10 yards, four minutes from time, after Joe Garner’s header was blocked.
Preston North End manager Simon Grayson said: “I told the players before that they had to be professional. We did make it harder work but overall we deserved to win.”
The visitors established an early lead, Hugill sending Garrat the wrong way with his penalty kick in the fifth minute.
Referee Scott Duncan pointed to the penalty spot after Hugill was caught when going to charge down Garratt’s attempted clearance.
13 minutes played and Keane doubled Preston’s lead, arrowing a low shot past Garratt from 12 yards to put PNE in a commanding position.
At the other end and David Fox had a chance to pull a goal back with a free kick, but his effort struck the wall and didn’t trouble Jordan Pickford.
Crewe had another free kick in a dangerous area, but Billy Bingham failed to test Pickford, his 25-yard effort flying past the post.
The PNE striker should have added a third shortly after, when presented with an open goal at the back post, but completely miscued his shot and another chance was spurned.
Crewe found a way back into the match, Brad Inman squaring a pass to King who guided a low shot into the bottom corner with 36 minutes played.
The home side nearly found an equalizer with Marcus Haber’s header, only for Pickford to make an excellent one-handed save off the line.
Crewe substitute George Cooper went close moments later, firing his shot narrowly wide of the post after being picked out by fellow sub Ryan Colclough.
As full-time approached, Brownhill made certain PNE would be in the next round, powering a shot past Garratt from 10 yards after Garner’s initial effort was blocked.
Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Ray, Nugent, Guthrie, Inman (Cooper 63), Dalla Valle, Fox, King, Bingham, Haber (Colclough 63). Unused subs: Atkinson, Saunders, Baillie, Wintle, Richards.
PNE: Pickford, Woods, Huntington, Wright (Humphrey 53), Vermijl (Davies 74), Browne, Kilkenny, Brownhill, Cunningham, Keane, Hugill (Garner 81). Unused subs: Johnson, Reid, Welsh, James.
Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland)