Memory match: Preston North End's four-goal romp at Derby County in the FA Cup

Preston North End caused an upset when they sent Derby County crashing out of the FA Cup in January 2008.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 3:00 pm

They won 4-1 at Pride Park, with Karl Hawley (2), Simon Whaley and Neil Mellor finding the net.

It was the first time North End had knocked a top-flight club out of the competition for nearly 30 years – it was Derby they had also beaten back in 1979.

The Rams were anything but Premier League material in 2008, bottom of the table and with just one league victory to their name at the time North End came calling.

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Karl Hawley celebrates scoring for Preston North End against Derby County in the FA Cup in January 2008

PNE weren’t in great shape themselves at the time, entrenched in a relegation fight in the Championship after a difficult first-half of the 2007/08 season.

Alan Irvine had taken over as manager two months previously and had a mixed start to his reign, although the signs were there that fortunes were starting to look brighter.

His side blew Derby away in this fourth round tie, with them 3-0 to the good by half-time.

A brief Rams revival saw the home side pull a goal back but North End – clad all in red – were never in any danger of squandering their advantage and were to add a fourth goal late in the game.

Neil Mellor scores from the penalty spot for Preston North End at Derby County in January 2008

That last goal came from the penalty spot, home defender Lewis Nyatanga sent-off to put the tin lid on a miserable afternoon for the home side who had PNE old boys Claude Davis and Eddie Lewis in their side.

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North End got their noses in front in the 14th minute and never looked back from that moment.

Rams defender Andy Todd made a hash of an attempted back pass which Chris Brown stole in to intercept. He held the ball up waiting for company before squaring a pass to Hawley who side-footed home.

Karl Hawley scores for Preston North End against Derby County at Pride Park in the FA Cup in January 2008

Hawley was involved in the build-up to Preston’s second goal with 33 minutes on the clock.

The former Carlisle striker chased a pass down the right and played it inside to find Darren Carter who helped the ball on to Whaley on the edge of the box.

Whaley took a couple of touches as he brought it inside before curling a shot into the far corner.

It was 3-0 on the stroke of half-time, with another Todd error in the build-up. The veteran defender let the ball roll under his foot and it ran to Hawley who turned on the edge of the box and curled a shot into the net.

Karl Hawley and Callum Davidson celebrate PNE's third goal against Derby in January 2008

Derby got a goal back 10 minutes into the second half when Rob Earnshaw sprang the offside trap to run clear and shoot past Andrew Lonergan.

The PNE goalkeeper was to save well from Robbie Savage soon after but in reality that was the end of any fight back.

Hawley was denied a hat-trick by a fine save from Lewis Price, however North End were to get a fourth goal in the 90th minute.

Mellor, on as substitute for Hawley, got clear on goal but was brought down from behind by Nyatanga who was shown a red card by referee Lee Probert.

It was the sub who stepped up to the spot and found the net to complete a fine afternoon’s work.