MEMORY MATCH: PNE v Ipswich
David Nugent sparked a Preston North End comeback against Ipswich but then gave them an almighty injury problem.
The striker scored twice in PNE’s 3-1 victory over the Tractor Boys at Deepdale on March 14, 2006.
But when attempting to reach a cros as he went in search of a hat-trick, Nugent slipped and put all weight on his right foot.
The result was a broken fifth metatarsal, with him limping off in agony.
It was initially feared that Nugent would miss the rest of the season, with him having surgery a few days later.
He made it back in six weeks, in time to make a late substitute’s appearance in the final league game of the campaign.
Nugent then started the two play-off semi-final ties with Leeds.
The Liverpudlian’s habit of scoring against Ipswich is well known.
He has found the net 15 times in meeting with the Sufflok club in his career.
This 2006 clash was only the third time he had faced then, yet the double he got that night took his tally to five.
PNE played against 10 men for 80 minutes, the visitors having centre-half Richard Naylor sent-off for bringing down Brett Ormerod as he went through on goal.
Referee Eddie Ilderton reached for his red card, deeming Naylor had denied a clear goalscoring chance.
The resulting free-kick from Paul McKenna struck the post.
It was the 10 men who went in front eight minutes before the interval.
North End’s defence failed to cut out a free-kick from Owen Garvan and Ipswich skipper Jason de Vos headed in from six yards.
Stirred by Billy Davies’ team-talk at the break, PNE began their fightback eight minutes after the re-start.
Collecting a pass from Chris Sedgwick in the box, Nugent made room before firing a right-foot shot across the keeper into the far corner.
After the equaliser, ex-PNE striker Ricardo Fuller was substituted by Ipswich.
Nugent got his second goal in the 62nd minute with a fine piece of skill and finish.
Sedgwick was against the creator, his ball into the box superbly flicked over keeper Shane Supple by Nugent.
He suffered the painful blow to his foot in the 68th minute as he stretched to meet a Sedgwick cross.
North End managed a third goal with Nugent back in the dressing room.
McKenna slipped a pass along the inside-left channel for Patrick Agyemang to chase, the substitute taking the ball into the penalty box and shooting past Supple.
Victory completed the double for PNE over Ipswich, having won 4-0 at Portman Road – Nugent having been on target twice in that game.
As Nugent battled back from the injury – he had surgery to insert a metal screw into the fractured bone and was back in the gym inside a couple of weeks – the front man became a wanted man in terms of the media.
Wayne Rooney suffered the same injury, leaving him facing a race against time to be fit for England for the World Cup in Germany that summer.
If Nugent could get fit in six weeks, could Rooney?
Nugent backed his fellow Scouser to recover in time and that prediction came true, Rooney making it.
As for Nugent, he tested his fitness in the final game of the season with a late run against Leeds – who they then faced in the play-offs.
He scored in the first leg at Elland Road but it was Leeds who went through.