Memory match: Brighton v PNE

Craig Brown gets his marching orders from referee Lee Cable as Billy Davies (right) looks on
Craig Brown gets his marching orders from referee Lee Cable as Billy Davies (right) looks on
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Brighton’s old Withdean Stadium home is a venue which former Preston boss Craig Brown does not have too many fond memories of.

The converted athletics stadium, where the Seagulls lodged for 11 years, was the scene of Brown’s last stand as Lilywhites manager in August 2004.

Sixteen months earlier in April 2003, his North End side beaten Brighton there 2-0.

However, it was not the best of afternoons for Brown who was forced to watch the closing stages of the game away from the dug-out.

The Scotsman, a bit of an old rascal when it came to contesting refereeing decisions, encroached on to the pitch when PNE saw a penalty claim turned down.

Brown was raging that Pawel Abbott had not got a spot-kick after being blocked by Albion’s veteran keeper Dave Beasant.

Referee Lee Cable sent him to the stand, the only problem being that there was not a spare seat for him.

He stood and watched from behind a fence near to the dressing rooms and when North End hit their second goal to wrap up victory, Browne was able to plonk himself in one of the seats vacated by home fans who had seen enough.

Brown said: “With Preston at Brighton I had to walk right round the running track and there wasn’t a seat available.

“When we scored to make it 2-0, 10 minutes from time, there were plenty of seats.

“A photographer got a picture of me and it was put up the front of the bus the next away game with the message: ‘This man is innocent’.

“I did not use any bad language. I just appealed to the ref to be fair and what annoyed me was that he smirked and smiled.”

PNE left it late to claim this victory, scoring both of their goals in the final 19 minutes.

Michael Jackson and Richard Cresswell found the net, dealing a blow to Albion’s chances of avoiding relegation.

The south coast club were relegated the following month, with Preston finishing slap-bang in mid table in what was Brown’s first campaign in charge.

North End rode their luck in the first half, with Graham Barrett and Bobby Zamora both hitting the woodwork as half-time approached.

Barrett’s shot hit the post, with the rebound cleared behind for a corner.

From the flag-kick, Zamora saw a header come back off the bar with David Lucas beaten. Preston improved after the interval and in the 71st minute took the lead.

Graham Alexander’s corner picked out Jackson, who rose to power a header into the roof of the net.

Alexander and Eddie Lewis both saw shots miss the target, then came the incident which saw Brown dismissed from the technical area.

That failed to ruffle North End’s feathers though, with their second goal arriving in the 86th minute.

Cresswell’s mazy run took him to the edge of the box, his low shot beating Beasant and going into the net via the inside of the post.

The goal came on the striker’s 100th appearance in a Preston shirt.

It sparked an exodus of home fans and Brown was able to sit down!