A hat-trick from PNE’s Paul Gallagher saw Preston North End brush aside Non-league outfit Barnet 6-0 in the FA Cup First Round.
Three goals from the Scotsman, two from fellow attacking player Joe Garner and a goal from Tom Clarke ensured that the League One side would be in the pot for tomorrow’s second round draw.
Barnet, who were 51 places below their opponents were left with an even steeper uphill task when Keanu Marsh-Brown was sent off for a reckless tackle with just 12 minutes on the clock.
The task became even more of a challenge when Preston took the lead after just 16 minutes. A beautiful curling cross from Lee Holmes found Clarke at the far post, who headed into the top left hand corner.
Barnet, however, had the chance to make things all square not long after. Curtis Weston finding space in PNE’s final quarter, but a last minute tackle prevented The Bees a stab at goal.
A triple header of headers then threatened the Barnet goalmouth. Nodded attempts from defensive duo Clarke and Paul Huntington were topped when Garner’s header sent The Lilywhites 2-0 up on 36 minutes.
A flighted cross from the left was met with the faintest of headers by Garner, with the ball bouncing into Bees keeper Graham Stack’s right hand post.
Just before the break, the home side was three goals to the good. A clever ball into Gallagher from Holmes, who was causing Barnet havoc with his first-half display saw the on-loan Leicester man get his first goal since rejoining the Deepdale contingent last month.
The 3-0 score line and the fact Barnet were down to 10 men pretty much doomed the London-based club to defeat even before the second-half began.
Nonetheless, the Barnet faithful were still in good spirits after making the four hour trip north, dancing to the sound of a banging drum, and in full voice throughout.
Despite the support, the visitors were struggling even to get into their oppositions half. Full back Scott Laird fired into the side netting after finding space at the back post.
Soon after, Garner and Gallagher combined well with a neat one two on the edge of the area before Gallagher pulled the trigger. His effort flying narrowly over.
10 minutes into the second-half and PNE like their opponents were down to 10 men. Stuart Beavon showed his studs in the penalty area before the referee showed him the red card.
Just after the hour mark, Barnet were enjoying a good yet rare passage of play.
A timid shot from Kieron Cadogan deflected wide, before substitute Harry Crawford arguably had Barnet’s best chance of the game.
The number 10 beat his man, before finding himself in front of Declan Rudd’s goal. His attempt however went straight at the PNE goalkeeper who parried away for a corner.
At the other end, Preston weren’t far off a fourth. A square ball into the feet of Keith Keane allowed the Irishman to shoot just outside the area, yet his first time shot sailed over.
The League One side, who were showing their superiority over their Conference counterparts, grabbed their fourth on 67 minutes. Gallagher getting his second of the game, after slotting home from the edge of the box.
Gallagher must have thought he’d sealed his hat-trick when he was through on goal just five minutes later. A cheeky looping effort had Stack well beaten, but the ball agonizingly trickled past the post.
He did get his hat-trick however with just 12 minutes remaining. A superb ball from Jack King fell to the number 12 who neatly chipped it past the Barnet shot stopper.
Head of coaching staff and player Edgar Davids went off the field deep into the second-half with his only impact at Deepdale coming from his reputation. Despite this he was applauded by both sets of fans who were more appreciative of his accolades of yesteryear rather than his performance today.
Garner completed the rout when he cut through the Barnet backline like butter to give PNE a six goal cushion.
After this, the game pretty much consisted of an eagerness for the final whistle as North End proved too much for Davids’ men as they march on to the second round.