Memory match: When Preston North End hit the Rams for four to complete a double

Preston North End did a demolition job on Derby County twice in the 2002/03 campaign.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 14th October 2021, 3:00 pm

Having won 2-0 at Pride Park in front of the Sky Sports cameras early in the season, Craig Brown’s men completed the double with a 4-2 victory in March 2003.

The Lilywhites bossed long spells of the Deepdale meeting, their margin of victory only cut by two late Fabrizio Ravanelli goals.

Graham Alexander, Dickson Etuhu, George Koumantarakis and Richard Cresswell netted for PNE to deliver a fifth win in six matches.

Graham Alexander (left) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring Preston’s first against Derby County at Deepdale

Such a sequence could be considered promotion form, however North End had left themselves with far too much to do after a poor winter and this victory merely nudged them just above halfway.

This was Brown’s first season in charge and the games they won under the former Scotland manager tended to be entertaining .

This one was no exception, Alexander setting the ball rolling with a 14th minute opener.

Preston attacked down the left, Paul McKenna moving the ball inside to find South African striker Koumantarakis.

He in turn found Lee Cartwright with a pass who fed Alexander on the overlap in the box, Alexander driving a low shot across the keeper in the far corner.

Chances came thick and fast for PNE after that, Rams goalkeeper Lee Grant saving well from Cresswell.

Koumantarakis was only an inch or so away from connecting with Eddie Lewis’ chip over the top.

The home side’s second goal came in the 25th minute, Lewis intercepting a cross field pass from Rob Lee.

Lewis’ ball inside found Koumantarakis, his shot was parried by Grant and Etutu was first to the rebound to shoot home from 12 yards.

PNE lost keeper Jonathan Gould to an injury in the 37th minute, David Lucas coming off the bench to replace him.

Lucas had barely got on to the pitch when the Lilywhites scored their third goal at the other end.

Cresswell got down the right-wing and laid a pass off to the supporting Alexander.

His cross was fumbled by Grant, Koumantarakis following up to seize on the loose ball and find the net from close range.

It was the striker’s first goal in a North End shirt since signing from Swiss club FC Basel six weeks earlier.

PNE didn’t want half-time to come, such was their dominance.

But they carried on after the interval in the manner where they had left off.

They made it 4-0 in the 51st minute as Derby failed to clear their lines at a corner.

After the flag-kick was only partly cleared, McKenna returned it into the box to the far post.

Chris Lucketti headed it into the goalmouth where Cresswell applied the finishing touch for a deserved appearance on the scoresheet.

With the game won, PNE got a bit sloppy with their play and shipped two late goals.

In the 75th minute, Craig Burley hit a low shot into the box which Italian international Ravanelli back-heeled past Lucas.

With the contest having moved into stoppage time, the same pair linked up for the visitors’ second.

Burley, who had played for Brown in the Scotland team and had new national coach Berti Vogts watching, got to the line to the left of goal.

He pulled a low cross back into the middle for Ravanelli to score from close range.