Memory match: PNE v Barnsley

Neil Mellor and Richard Chaplow celebrate a goal against Barnsley in 2008

Neil Mellor and Richard Chaplow celebrate a goal against Barnsley in 2008

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Centre-back Sean St Ledger was Preston’s late hero as his superb goal delivered victory against Barnsley at Deepdale in November 2008.

St Ledger was allowed to stride unchecked down the centre of the pitch before he unleashed a fine right-foot shot into the top corner.

It delivered three points against a Tykes side who had looked to be holding out for a share of the spoils.

The last-gasp win was part of a good run of form for Alan Irvine’s side.

They lost once in eight games, a run which lifted them to the fringes of the play-off zone.

This game marked the first anniversary of Irvine’s time in charge of Preston.

He had inherited a side in trouble and, during his first six months in charge, led them to safety.

The 2008/09 season – his only full campaign at the helm – was all about trying to get North End firing at the top end of the table.

His side came into the game on the back of a fine 3-1 derby win over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.

Barnsley were a team in form too, having taken 13 points from the previous six games.

Both sides showed early attacking intent, Billy Jones slicing a cross over the bar when Chris Brown was well placed at the far post.

At the other end, former PNE favourite Jon Macken saw a shot on the turn from the edge of the box saved by keeper Andrew Lonergan.

Neil Mellor tested Heinz Muller with a 20-yard shot, one which Muller fumbled before holding at the second attempt.

The Lilywhites took the lead in the 21st minute thanks to some persistent play from Mellor.

Barnsley defender Hugo Colace tried to shepherd the ball out of play but Mellor hustled possession from the Argentinian.

Mellor pulled the ball back into the middle, presenting Richard Chaplow with the simple task of side-footing home from close range.

PNE’s advantage was to last only 12 minutes though, generous defending allowing Jamal Campbell-Ryce to fire into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

In the second half, North End were the stronger side and pressed the Barnsley back line throughout.

Chaplow tested Muller with a shot inside the box, one he perhaps should have done better with.

There were chances for Mellor and Chris Sedgwick, with Muller pulling off a good save to thwart Mellor.

Sedgwick had a shot kicked off the line by one-time North End loanee Rob Kozluk.

But Barnsley were not without their chances either, Lonergan having to push a shot from Campbell-Ryce against the post,

With the game entering its final stages, St Ledger stole the show. Barnsley backed off as he pushed upfield, 
anticipating him trying to pick out a pass.

However, 25 yards out, the defender let fly with a shot which beat Muller all ends up.

It was one of six goals from St Ledger that season and 11 in total in Preston colours.

Irvine said: “ We know that Sean is capable of bursting out with the ball.

“He does that many times but we didn’t expect him to go out and score!

“It was a good result and I was delighted with it.

“But we have played 
better than that this season and lost.”

Both Preston’s scorers from the game now ply their trade in the United States.

St Ledger, 31, plays for Colorado Rapids, having had a stint with Orlando City.

Midfielder Chaplow joined MLS outfit Orange County Blues during the summer after being released by Doncaster Rovers at the end of last season.