Preston North End’s terrific FA Youth Cup run was brought to an end at the quarter-final stage by Stoke City on Monday night, who emerged as 3-1 winners at Deepdale.
The hosts had not progressed so far in the competition since finishing as runners-up to Chelsea in 1960, but it was the Potters – who themselves were featuring in the last eight for the first time since 1984 – that secured a two-legged semi-final against Manchester City next month.
Jordan Greenidge gave Stoke the lead after 13 minutes and Tyrese Campbell doubled the visitors’ advantage three minutes before the break.
Campbell scored his second midway through the second-half before Josh Earl grabbed a late consolation for North End.
Both sides showed great positivity in the opening stages of the game, with Stoke’s strength and physicality in attack particularly evident from the beginning.
Greenidge, who was a constant menace for the home defence throughout the night, tested Callum Roberts with a long distance drive after four minutes in what was the first effort on goal.
Stoke continued to cause problems and their breakthrough came in the 13th minute. Greenidge nicked the ball from ‘keeper Roberts from around 30 yards out, and although the PNE stopper managed to get back in decent time, the forward shot inside the near post to make it 0-1.
However, the hosts responded well and enjoyed their best spell in the immediate aftermath of that opener. The pick of the chances saw Ki Smart’s goalbound header from 12 yards palmed away by Mate Deczki after 20 minutes.
Although North End continued to control much of the play, Stoke’s threat in attack did not diminish. They might have doubled their lead after 34 minutes when Greenidge’s powerful effort from the angle of the six-yard area thundered against the post.
But Stoke did get their second eight minutes later, as Campbell controlled and held up a long ball in the area before converting his strike into the bottom left corner, making it 0-2 at the break.
Earl and Jake Dunwoody both saw efforts narrowly clear the crossbar at either end in the first ten mintues after the interval before Campbell netted his second in the 68th minute.
Stoke again regained possession deep in the opposition half and Campbell was on hand to tap in a right-wing cross at the back post with a simple finish.
The Lilywhites did manage to reduce the deficit in the 81st minute when Earl was quickest to react from close-range after a goalmouth scramble at a corner, but they couldn’t carve the defence open again thereafter as Stoke sealed their place in the competition’s last four.
Preston North End: Roberts, Creech, Burgoyne, Day, Lyons, Smart (Mason, 69), O’Neil, Wood (Howard, 64), Meulensteen, Earl and Garstang (Barry, 86). Subs not used: Cottam and Stead.
Stoke City: Deczki, T. Edwards, Souttar, Da Silva, McJannett, Balde (Twyford, 72), Sorensen, Dunwoody, Zsereto, Greenidge and Campbell. Subs not used: Allen, Read, Monteiro and Vazoumana.
Referee: Mr D England