Memory match: When Youl Mawene nearly went from hero to zero against Nottingham Forest

Youl Mawene was both hero and villain in Preston North End’s win over Nottingham Forest in September 2008.

Thursday, 31st December 2020, 9:06 am
Updated Thursday, 31st December 2020, 9:12 am
Youl Mawene scored against Forest but then conceded an own goal

Everyone’s favourite Frenchman scored at both ends in the 2-1 Deepdale victory.

Centre-half Mawene broke the deadlock in the clash and when Neil Mellor sent a diving header into the net it looked like being a routine night for PNE.

However, Mawene put through his own net with 23 minutes left and that meant a nervous watch for the North End faithful in the closing stages as Forest looked for an equaliser.

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Neil Mellor scores against Forest

Fortunately one didn’t come and Mawene was off the hook.

“Everyone makes mistakes,” observed Preston boss Alan Irvine.

“Youl thought there was someone making a run behind him and made a decision to play the ball.

“It changed what was probably a very comfortable situation for us into something which was very uncomfortable.

“But there was no harm done in the end.”

PNE could have been out of sight by half-time after dominating the first half.

Forest were newcomers to the division after promotion, with North End having made an unbeaten start to the league season.

The hosts zipped the ball around early on, Jon Parkin and Chris Sedgwick combining to set up Darren Carter for a shooting chance which went wide.

Parkin, recently arrived from Stoke, saw a shot deflected wide.

Forest briefly threatened, with Rob Earnshaw putting an effort from distance wide and Andy Cole forced Preston keeper Andrew Lonergan into a save.

Back at the opposite end, Carter’s screamer from 30 yards was tipped over the bar by Paul Smith.

In the run-up to half-time, Parkin and Barry Nicholson both went close.

After those missed chances in the first half, the Lilywhites took less than five minutes of the second to nudge in front.

Carter delivered a corner from the right which found Mawene at the back of the box, the defender climbing to send a downward header into the net.

Eight minutes later, PNE doubled their advantage through striker Mellor.

The move began with Billy Jones, the right-back’s pass sending Nicholson away down the wing.

Nicholson’s cross on the run was met by Mellor who threw himself at the ball at the far post to head home.

Were PNE home and hosed? No, Mawene’s blooper saw to that.

In the 67th minute, Lee Martin got down the Forest left and put over a cross which Lonergan seemed to have covered.

But Mawene flung himself in front of the cross to try and clear out of the box, sensing a striker was closer to it than he probably was.

The ball flew off his head and past Lonergan into the net.

For a while, North End were on the back foot as the visitors chased an equaliser.

Thankfully there weren’t too many opportunities for Forest to pull level and the sound of the final whistle would have been a relief to Mawene.

It was a sixth game unbeaten in the league for Irvine’s men but they were then to lose their next four matches – including the end of their long successful run of results under the Deepdale floodlights in midweek games.