After an early opener, two goals either side of the break sealed the win for the home side.
Mark Cooper made seven changes to the starting line-up at Deepdale. There were starts for Ty Belford in goal, Jack Barthram, George Barker and Jermaine Hylton, while Under-18s, Lee Marshall and Will Randall were also handed a place in the line-up.
The hosts were ahead after just two minutes. A hooked ball back in towards the danger area from Paul Gallagher was weighted perfectly for Joe Garner to latch onto and lift an effort over Belford into the net.
Despite the early setback, Town settled into their rhythm quickly and carved out an opportunity for Michael Smith but he could only direct a header across goal and wide. Barthram then tested Sam Johnstone in the PNE goal, forcing the ‘keeper into a smart stop. The wing-back was involved again, sidefooting a low cross in towards the lurking Michael Smith but the big number nine couldn’t quite stretch to reach it.
It was Town who continued to create chances. A pass over the top almost found the run of Barker but Johnstone just managed to get hands on the ball before the Town man could get there.
The closest the hosts came in the meantime was through danger man, Garner who thumped a volley just wide of the post.
Hylton then had a go at goal from the edge of the box but his effort was smartly saved by Johnstone.
In injury time, the hosts doubled their advantage. The Gallagher/Garner combination paid dividends once again: the former floating a free-kick onto the head of the latter, who made no mistake in sending the ball into the back of the net with a header.
Just after the break, Garner headed over when well-placed before he added a third to complete his hat-trick. Jermaine Beckford made progress down the left flank and cannoned a shot off the bar. Garner was poised to pounce, nodding in the rebound.
With the home side cruising, Town continued to create chances. Jordan Turnbull dragged a shot wide while Jack Barthram’s low cross evaded everyone in the area.
At the other end, the last meaningful chance of the game feel to Chris Humphrey who drifted in off the right before blazing a left-footed effort high and wide of goal.