Memory match: PNE v Brighton

PNE striker Ricardo Fuller in action for PNE against Brighton in November 2002
PNE striker Ricardo Fuller in action for PNE against Brighton in November 2002
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Preston let Brighton off the hook when the clubs met at Deepdale in November 2002.

The Lilywhites raced into a 2-0 lead through goals from Chris Lucketti and Richard Cresswell.

But the Seagulls launched a second-half comeback, with the visitors pegging PNE back with Simon Rodger and Steve Sidwell scoring.

The draw was part of a good patch of form for North End under Craig Brown.

They lost one in seven in league and cup, something of a rarity in the early stages of Brown’s reign.

However, having surged into the lead and with the visitors bottom of the table, this was very much a case of two points dropped for PNE.

Brighton were improving under the guidance of Steve Coppell though, this a fourth match unbeaten.

In the previous games, North End had beaten Burnley in the league and then won at Birmingham in the League Cup.

They lost 2-1 at Millwall before drawing 3-3 against Grimsby.

In the early stages of this game, Preston made all of the running.

Albion goalkeeper Michel Kuipers had to scramble a Graham Alexander corner off the line, then a free-kick from Paul McKenna whistled wide of the target.

It was not exclusively one-way traffic though, with PNE keeper David Lucas forced into a smart save by Bobby Zamora.

The Lilywhites took the lead in the 16th minute.

Eddie Lewis sent over a corner from the left which skipper Lucketti rose to head past Kuipers from six yards.

Within 10 minutes they doubled their advantage.

Cresswell found the net, forcing the ball over the line from close range after a scramble in the goalmouth.

It was Cresswell’s ninth goal of the campaign, one in which he finished up with 16 top his name.

Any hopes that North End were home and hosed, were dashed in the second half.

Coppell’s team-talk to his side at the interval certainly had the desired affect.

They started the second half at a high tempo and cut the deficit in the 52nd minute.

Zamora put over a cross from the right which Gary Hart nodded into the path of Rodger to volley past Lucas.

Brighton nullified the threat of Cresswell and strike partner Ricardo Fuller in the second half

More pressure from the away team brought them an equaliser with 72 minutes on the clock.

Zamora was again the man with the assist, playing the ball through to Sidwell who tucked a shot past Lucas from just inside the box.

With the momentum with Brighton, the contest could easily have gone their way.

Hart went close with a shot, then Robbie Pethwick’s effort was tipped over the bar by Lucas, it being an anxious finale to the game from North End’s point of view.

Later that season, PNE won the return game at the Withdean Stadium 2-0 thanks to goals from Michael Jackson and Cresswell.

The following campaign, Brighton beat North End 1-0, a game which brought to an end Brown’s time in charge.

Preston got their revenge a few months later, winning 3-0 at Deepdale.

All five encounters since between the clubs have been draws.

Four were goalless draws, a sequence ended at the Amex Stadium in October when the game ended 2-2.

North End took an early lead through Jordan Hugill, before Sam Baldock and Glenn Murray turned the game in Albion’s favour with goals in quick succession.

Simon Makienok was the last-gasp hero for Preston, steering a stoppage-time header into the net to earn a point.