Memory match: Preston North End v Reading, 1998

Mark Rankine, Jon Macken, David Eyres, Michael Jackson (partly hidden), Sean Gregan and Kurt Nogan celebrate Jackson's opening goal
Mark Rankine, Jon Macken, David Eyres, Michael Jackson (partly hidden), Sean Gregan and Kurt Nogan celebrate Jackson's opening goal

Michael Jackson and David Eyres both struck twice as Preston brushed Reading aside 4-0 in September 1998 at Deepdale.

Eyres’ second goal was a bit special, with the veteran winger finding the net from 45 yards.

That put the icing on the cake on PNE’s fifth league win of the 1998/99 campaign.

They were given a helping hand in this one, by reason of a 33rd red card for visiting striker Mass Sarr.

The Liberia international took an early bath for getting two yellow cards in the space of 90 seconds.

North End were 1-0 ahead at the time of Sarr’s dismissal and took full advantage of the extra man to ram home their superiority.

This three points formed part of a strong start to the season.

After a 4-3 home defeat to Stoke the previous month, they had won by the same scoreline at Lincoln, beaten Chesterfield, drew at Bristol Rovers before winning 1-0 at Wycombe.

PNE boss David Moyes had stuck with the side which beat Wycombe but early on it looked like the midweek game had taken its toll.

Reading had a couple of sighters on the Preston goal through Phil Parkinson and Grant Brebner.

Kurt Nogan had PNE’s first chance, seeing a close-range shot turned behind by the Royals keeper.

The resulting corner led to North End going in front.

Paul McKenna delivered it long beyond the far post for Jackson to steam in and send a header into the net despite the best efforts of right-back Martin Booty to hoof clear.

Mark Rankine went close to extending the lead with a deflected shot which keeper Scott Howie tipped over.

Sarr tested the patience of referee Matt Messias when he kicked the ball out of the hands of Tepi Moilanen.

That earned him a yellow card and 90 seconds later his late tackle on Sean Gregan saw him dismissed.

Sometimes, teams do not take advantage of having an extra man but North End did on this occasion.

Sarr was still running the hot water in the dressing room when Preston scored their second goal.

McKenna’s corner was cleared out of the box as far as Rankine, who lifted the ball back into middle.

It found Jackson six yards out and he powered home his second header of the game.

PNE had made it 3-0 two minutes later.

Keeper Howie made a hash of a short pass to left-back Stuart Gray. Nogan stole the ball from Gray and worked it inside to Rankine, who in turn found Eyres, who side-footed home from close range.

Rankine, Nogan, Ryan Kidd and Jon Macken went on to have chances after the interval as Moyes’ men kept their foot on the gas.

Supersub Jason Harris also had a sight of goal after replacing Macken.

North End’s fourth goal – and the best of the lot – came in the 74th minute.

Howie slipped as he made a clearance on the edge of his box, the ball falling to Eyres 45 yards out.

In front of the dug-out, Eyres took a touch and then fired the ball back from where it had come.

It sailed over Howie as he back-pedalled towards his line, and landed in the net.

Still Preston went after more, Nogan, Kidd and substitute Lee Cartwright having chances.

A late Moilanen save from Martin Williams’ header made sure PNE’s victory came with a clean sheet.