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Photo credit: PNEFC.net

Preston North End U19s made it two wins out of two with a 5-0 demolition of Stockport County.

Finlay Cross-Adair scored twice, one via the spot, while Dana Amaral, Kitt Nelson and Rio Pemberton all also added their names to the scoresheet.

An emphatic victory over a new addition to the EFL Youth Alliance means the Lilywhites have made a 100% start to their title defence.

There were two changes made to the side that thrashed Oldham Athletic 9-1 at Springfields the previous weekend, with Izac Khan replacing Jacob Slater and Kian Taylor coming in for Harry Nevin.

Nevin’s absence meant the captain’s armband went to Lewis Leigh, fresh from making his senior debut as a substitute in North End’s 4-1 Carabao Cup win at Huddersfield the previous Tuesday.

The young Lilywhites made an explosive start in sweltering conditions and on six minutes Izac Khan got on the end of Pemberton’s hanging cross but saw his low drive blocked by a Stockport defender.

Two minutes later, PNE were in front. Pemberton was again involved, when his cross from the left was met by a towering header at the front post from Amaral.

A minute before the quarter of an hour mark, Nick Harrison’s side had doubled their lead as Noah Mawene went up for a cross with the opposition goalie and won the 50-50, leaving the ‘keeper out of position and Nelson was handed an easy finish.

It took just two minutes for the ruthless Lilywhites to make it 3-0 and they did it in style. A well-worked move saw Cross-Adair receive the ball on the edge of the area and the forward shrugged off a defender before unleashing a deadly strike right into the top corner.

It was almost four on 19 minutes when Leigh played in Pemberton, who was bombing down the right flank, but his low shot was deflected wide.

The Hatters simply could not contain the visitors at this moment in time and would have been mightily relieved when the referee blew for a water break at the midway point of the first half.

This pause did seem to reset the match somewhat and North End struggled to regain the same intensity they had began the match with.

However, they were still creating chances and Taylor came close with an audacious overhead kick that flew just over the Stockport bar.

Cross-Adair also had a couple of decent opportunities to grab his second before the whistle blew for half-time.

The second period continued in much the same vein as the first one had with PNE creating chances and keeping the hosts penned in their own half.

On 51 minutes, Mawene was brought down in the area by a clumsy challenge and Cross-Adair made no mistake from the spot, scoring his second goal of the match.

Manager Nick Harrison made his first change ten minutes later as Cole McGhee replaced Taylor at the back.

Pemberton got in on the act on 73 minutes after Mawene broke into the area and saw his shot parried into the path of a defender before winning the ball back off that defender and leaving Pemberton with a tap-in to make it 5-0.

North End then made all their remaining substitutions as Tommy Davis, Kaedyn Kamara, Ellis Horan and Callum Havard came on for James Pradic, Leigh, Mawene and Cross-Adair.

The match rather fizzled out after that and the final whistle soon sounded with the final scoreline a resounding 5-0 to the Lilywhites

They had recorded yet another convincing victory and brought their total for the season so far up to 14 goals after just two matches.

Speaking to PNE.Com, coach Andy Fensome said: “I thought the boys were excellent in the first 15 to 20 minutes.

“They passed the ball quickly and decisively and scored some good goals.

“Then the water break came. We slackened off a little bit then and the intensity dropped but that’s only to be expected in the hot weather.”

Fensome was particularly pleased with Cross-Adair’s first goal, saying: “The goal was a team goal, it started from the halfway line and there was some good combination play and then a good finish.

“I think Fin’s done excellent so far this season, he just needs to continue what he was doing.”

He also spoke of his pride at seeing Leigh make his first-team debut earlier in the week and praised the holding midfielder’s performance at Stockport.

“It’s always good to see a young player make his debut,” he said.

“Lewis then came back here to play, and he played like he’d been with the first team, he moved the ball quickly and I thought he was outstanding in midfield.”

On the four substitutions made on 76 minutes, Fensome said: “The game was won by that stage, the lads that came on need minutes on the pitch and need to learn the intensity we play at.

“It’s good for the first-years to come on and join in those games. It’s development and it’s the right thing to do.”

PNE line-up: Pradic (Davis 76’), Wallbank, Khan, Leigh (C) (Horan 76’), Taylor (McGhee 61’), Best, Pemberton, Amaral, Cross-Adair (Havard 76’), Mawene (Kamara 76’), Nelson