Second half penalties from Matthew Fletcher and Paul McElroy helped the Tigers to a 2-0 win over Preston North End in the Under 21 Premier League Cup First Qualifying Round at Deepdale on Monday afternoon.
Stephen Clemence’s side contained only one player with first team experience, Dougie Wilson having made a substitute appearance against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup last season. Eight of the starting line up were products of the Tigers youth system, the exceptions being Will Aimson, James Armstrong and Fletcher.
Chances were at a premium in the opening stages, the first falling to the hosts but Chris Beardsley shot wide after latching onto a long ball.
Preston went close to opening the scoring from a Josh Brownhill corner but Shane Cansdell-Sherriff’s header was cleared off the line by Sam Topliss.
Matty Dixon’s corner provided City with their first chance of the game but Ben Clappison’s header was easily held by Preston keeper Steven James.
Jack Ryan’s header was off target for the hosts before the Tigers almost had a lucky break when a Topliss cross from the right skimmed the top of the crossbar.
Beardsley had a good chance for Preston when he met Joe Whittington’s cross but he headed just wide.
Half Time: Preston North End 0 Hull City 0
Ryan sent a header just past Cracknell’s right hand post as Preston started the second period well but City took the lead in the 54th minute. Fletcher chased Armstrong’s through ball and just as he got into the box he was nudged over by Cansdell-Sherriff, a challenge deemed worthy of a penalty by the referee’s assistant. Fletcher took the penalty himself, sending James the wrong way.
Ryan Croasdale fired wide for the hosts before Cracknell was forced into a superb save to turn Brownhill’s shot away for a corner.
Croasdale sent a glancing header just wide from Alex Nicholson’s cross and Brownhill fired over the bar as Preston went in search of an equaliser but City were awarded their second penalty of the game in the 75th minute. Dixon’s corner was punched clear by James but the referee spotted an infringement which went unseen by the majority of those inside Deepdale and McElroy’s spot kick just beat the keeper’s dive to put City two up.
Dixon then had a great chance to add a third goal when he met McElroy’s pull back but he shot high over the bar.
Cracknell preserved his clean sheet in the closing stages turning away Brownhill’s right footer from outside the box.
The Tigers will once again be on the road in the second qualifying round as they travel to face Derby County.
Preston North End: Steven James, Alex Nicholson, Nick Anderton, Ryan Croasdale, Bradley Roscoe, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, Joe Whittington (Tyler Forbes 69), Josh Brownhill, Chris Beardsley, Jack Ryan, Will Hayhurst.
Subs Not Used: Ross Dalton, George Gray, Sean Holmes, Josh Sampson.
Hull City: Joe Cracknell, Sam Topliss, Max Clark, Matty Dixon, Ben Clappison, Will Aimson, Matthew Fletcher (Sam O’Connor 56), Dougie Wilson, Danny Chambers (Jack Barlow 62), James Armstrong (Ryan Fallowfield 81), Paul McElroy.
Subs Not Used: Rory Watson, Leon Dawson.