Memory match: Preston North End hold on against Nottingham Forest

Dickson Etuhu leads the celebrations followed by Richard Cresswell, Chris Lucketti and Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungo
Dickson Etuhu leads the celebrations followed by Richard Cresswell, Chris Lucketti and Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungo

Preston made harder work than they should have done of their October 2004 win against Nottingham Forest.

The Lilywhites were 3-0 up inside 57 minutes thanks to goals from Paul McKenna, Chris Lucketti and Dickson Etuhu.

But after being in cruise control, they adopted the wrong gear in the closing stages and almost allowed Forest to grab an unlikely share of the spoils.

Marlon King scored twice in two minutes for the visitors and was not far away from a third goal right at the death.

Little wonder then that Billy Davies read the riot act to his players in the dressing room rather than dishing out the praise which the bulk of their afternoon’s work was deserving of.

The North End team saw goalkeeper Gavin Ward make his full debut.

John Curtis was signed from Portsmouth before the game for a second spell on loan, while another loanee Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungo started.

The Congo striker was borrowed from Sheffield Wednesday, this one of six appearances for North End.

Chances came early for both teams, Ward sticking out a foot to save from Eugen Bopp in the first minute.

McKenna forced a save from Forest goalkeeper Paul Gerrard after being teed up by Ndumbu-Nsungo.

Within two minutes of that chance, McKenna gave Preston the lead.

Ndumbu-Nsungo sped down the right wing and put over a cross which McKenna headed home.

Chances followed for PNE through Ndumbu-Nsungo and Richard Cresswell.

The woodwork foiled Cresswell, with his header coming back off the bar.

A rare Forest attack during this spell of Preston pressure saw Ward spread himself to save from David Johnson.

North End doubled their lead in the 36th minute, the goal a simple one.

Eddie Lewis sent over a corner which Lucketti rose to head into the net beyond the dive of Gerrard.

It got better for the hosts 12 minutes into the second half and they seemed home and hosed by then.

Another Lewis corner was this time met by Etuhu on the edge of the six-yard box who powered home a header.

Forest looked dead and buried, Joe Kinnear’s men struggling to say the least.

Their day seemingly got worse when Gareth Taylor got a red card within eight minutes of coming on as a substitute.

Taylor kicked out at Claude Davis – never a wise more anyway – and referee Tony Bates pulled out the red card.

North End should have made it 4-0 when sub Simon Lynch got through on goal but Gerrard saved.

It was a minute after that when Forest pulled a goal back.

King hit a shot from the edge of the box which clipped Davis and wrong-footed Ward.

If that was a slight shake for North End, they began to wobble two minutes when King got a second goal.

Davis’ poor clearance fell his way, the striker volleying home a decent finish.

The home side almost went into meltdown in the 90th minute when the ball bounced across goal with King and Johnson inches away from getting a touch.

So it was with a huge sigh of relief that the final whistle sounded and three points were put in the bag.

Four days later, North End played Everton in the League Cup and were beaten 2-0 at Goodison Park.