Memory match: Brentford v PNE

Preston will be aiming to bring a run of three defeats at Griffin Park to an end when they face Brentford this weekend.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 15th September 2016, 11:51 am
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 4:00 pm
Neil Mellor celebrates his second and PNE's third goal against Brentford in 2011
Neil Mellor celebrates his second and PNE's third goal against Brentford in 2011

North End were beaten 2-1 by the Bees last season, while they lost 1-0 in both 2013 and 2014.

Their last victory in that corner of West London came on September 17, 2011, when they won 3-1.

It was their sixth win on the bounce as PNE started the 2011/12 season strongly after relegation the previous May.

Neil Mellor netted twice and Iain Hume hit the other as the Lilywhites enjoyed this London away day.

They set for the tone for the afternoon by attacking from the first whistle.

That was not a surprise, bearing in mind Preston had won their previous five league and cup games.

Centre-back Brian McLean went close to opening the scoring after getting on the end of a free-kick from Graham Alexander.

Barry Nicholson tested Bees keeper Richard Lee with a header from a Paul Parry cross.

Hume’s follow-up effort was blocked with Mellor blasting the loose ball over the bar.

So it was no surprise when the Lilywhites took a 10th-minute lead.

It was a simple goal in terms of the build-up.

Keeper Andreas Arestidou, deputising for Iain Turner who had a broken toe, launched a big goal-kick which Jamie Proctor jumped to head on.

Mellor stole in behind the Brentford defence to run clear and steer a low shot past Lee.

They almost let the hosts back into the game within a minute, Clayton Donaldson left unmarked in the box.

But the big striker’s shot was too close to Arestidou, who saved comfortably.

Arestidou was beaten in the 21st minute though, with North End undone on the counter attack by their hosts. Myles Weston sped down the Bees right wing and put in a low cross which Niall McGinn lifted into the roof of the net from close range.

There followed a good spell of pressure from the Bees but Preston held firm.

Their reward for some solid defending came in the 32nd minute as they regained the lead – and in some style too.

Proctor’s lay-off fell to Hume down the inside-right channel, the Canadian striker taking a step inside before rifling a powerful shot over Lee from 25 yards.

Early in the second half, Mellor turned the ball against the post after Alexander’s centre had been helped on by Proctor.

There was a scare at the other end as Bees midfielder Jonathan Douglas just failed to connect with a cross from Adam Davidson.

PNE’s Proctor and Paul Coutts tried their luck with shots from outside the box.

Arestidou made a diving save from a Miguel Llera 
free-kick, before North End made sure of the points 18 minutes from time.

Nicholson chipped a 
free-kick from the right over to the far post where Clark Carlisle jumped to meet it.

Centre-half Carlisle headed the ball back into the middle for Mellor to volley into the roof of the net from 10 yards in front of 892 delighted Preston fans.

The run of six wins was North End’s best since the 1999/2000 season when they had been promoted under David Moyes.

Reflecting at the time, Mellor said: “I said to our coach David Unsworth that I don’t think many players in their career go six games winning on the bounce.”

At the time, Brentford were managed by Uwe Rosler.

He said: “What was disappointing for me was that one or two threw in the towel. It’s the first time I have seen this.”