Memory match: Cressy is Preston North End's last action hero in win over Stoke City

Craig Brown got his first win as Preston manager when Stoke City visited Deepdale 16 years ago.

Thursday, 16th August 2018, 12:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th August 2018, 5:45 pm
Richard Creswell goes around the keeper to win the game for Preston in the game between Preston North End and Stoke City at Deepdale

It was some game, with seven goals, three penalties and the woodwork hit twice.

For good measure, PNE’s winner came in the sixth minute of stoppage-time, that after Stoke had made it 3-3 just two minutes earlier.

Brown, who had overseen two draws and a defeat in his first three games, didn’t know if to laugh our cry.

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David Healy celebrates scoring with Richard Cresswell

Once he had drawn breath, the former Scotland boss said: “That might have been great entertainment for the fans but not if you are a coach.”

A topsy-turvy clash had seen Stoke take an early lead from the penalty spot.

David Healy struck twice to nudge Preston ahead, with Ricardo Fuller extending the lead.

Stoke cut the arrears and then grabbed a 93rd minute equaliser, a goal which they thought had earned them a share of the spoils.

But with the clock in the sixth minute of time added one, Richard Cresswell hit Preston’s winner.

To think PNE’s previous game had ended in a 0-0 draw with Rotherham!

Stoke drew first blood in the seventh minute from the penalty spot.

Kris Commons was felled by a Chris Lucketti challenge, referee Graham Franklands pointing to the spot.

It took two attempts, Clive Clarke hitting the first into the roof of the net only for the ref to order it be retaken.

Clarke this time kept his effort low and in it went past Teuvo Moilanen.

Two minutes later it was Preston’s turn to be awarded a penalty – Cresswell having been tripped – but Graham Alexander put his spot kick wide of the post.

Healy levelled the score in the 12th minute, meeting a cross from Rob Edwards to guide a header into the net.

The striker then gave the Lilywhites the lead, a superb tackle from Paul McKenna on Sergei Shataniuk starting the build-up.

It broke into the path of Cresswell who exchanged passes with Fuller, his cross bouncing off defender Wayne Thomas into Healy’s path who finished with a low shot.

Before half-time arrived, both Lucketti and Fuller sent headers against the bar.

North End looked like they had wrapped-up victory with a third goal after an hour.

Moilanen’s goal kick hit Shataniuk on the top of the head and bounced to Fuller.

The Jamaica striker left three Stoke players in his wake as he moved into the box and stabbed a shot past keeper Neil Cutler.

Stoke pulled it back to 3-2 four minutes later, again from the penalty spot.

Play went on despite Mark Rankine being stretched out on the turf after taking a bang to the head.

In the ensuing scramble in the box, the ball struck the outstretched arm of Dickson Etuhu.

Clarke tucked the penalty into the bottom corner.

Preston held that slender lead until the 94th minute, Andy Cooke left unmarked in the box to meet a corner from Commons and head home.

But North End’s despair at seemingly tossing away three points was to turn to joy two minutes later.

Substitute Michael Keane played a superb cross field pass from his own half to send Cresswell away down the middle.

He chested it down, got into the box, went round the keeper before slotting a shot into the net by the post.

Deepdale went wild and Brown went for a lie-down to take in what he had seen.