Memory match: PNE v Norwich City

Graham Alexander celebrates his penalty goal

Graham Alexander celebrates his penalty goal

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Preston North End ruthlessly clipped the wings of the Canaries and ruined Delia Smith’s holiday in one fell swoop when they met Norwich at Deepdale in September 2001.

David Moyes’ men hit four first-half goals without reply against the East Anglia side who were second in the Championship at the time.

Norwich owner Smith, the TV cook, had flown in from a holiday in Italy and left long before the final whistle to catch her flight back when it became clear there was no way back for the visitors.

Graham Alexander, Jon Macken (2) and Rob Edwards were on target for North End in this Wednesday night clash under the floodlights.

Victory came on the back of a 1-0 win at Birmingham City the previous Sunday.

North End were without skipper Sean Gregan through suspension, a re-jig of the midfield seeing Paul McKenna partner Mark Rankine with Iain Anderson coming in on the left-wing.

They bossed the game from the first whistle, earning a penalty with just 32 seconds on the clock.

Craig Fleming’s foul on stand-in captain Rankine saw referee George Cain point to the spot, the penalty dispatched into the bottom corner by Alexander.

After 15 minutes, Preston scored their second goal, with David Healy the creator in chief.

Healy put in a ferocious tackle to win possession off Fleming in midfield, the ball springing forward into Macken’s path.

Macken did the rest, evading a lunging tackle from Darren Kenton as he moved into the box before hammering a shot into the top corner past keeper Robert Green.

At the time, Macken was on the transfer list following a wrangle over a new contract.

He had been booed at the previous home match but it was all cheers this time.

Strike partner Healy went close with a couple of chances as North End kept their visitors pinned back.

It was no surprise when they hit their third goal in the 33rd minute.

Alexander’s corner from the left was hit long beyond the back post, Healy chipped it back into the mix and there was left-back Edwards to head into the net, the last touch coming off a Norwich player in a desperate attempt to clear.

That was Edwards’ second goal in successive games after going the previous 66 without scoring.

Preston made it 4-0 in stoppage-time at the end of the first half,

Alexander’s pass found Healy, the Northern Ireland striker turning the ball into the path of Macken who rifled a shot past green off the inside of the post.

That was effectively game over before the half-time tea had been brewed, with the second half not having the excitement of the first.

Norwich went in search of a goal to give the scoreline some respectability, Steen Nedergaard forcing Tepi Moilanen into a save with his legs.

The Finnish keeper also made a couple of routines saves from Norwich sub Alex Notman.

This win formed the early part of an impressive run which saw Moyes’ men lose just once in 15 games.