Memory match: PNE v Nottingham Forest

Goalscorers Youl Mawene and Neil Mellor
Goalscorers Youl Mawene and Neil Mellor

Youl Mawene was the hero – and slight villain – as Preston edged past Nottingham Forest 2-1 at Deepdale in September 2008.

The French defender had the home crowd in raptures shortly after the interval when he headed North End into the lead.

However, Mawene put everybody of a PNE persuasion on tenterhooks with just 23 minutes to go when he scored an own goal.

Fortunately for the centre-half, Neil Mellor had already handed PNE a 2-0 lead with a diving header and they held on to register three vital Championship points.

The match was also notable by the fact that former Manchester United, Newcastle and England striker Andrew Cole made his first start for the visitors after signing on at the City Ground.

It proved to be a fruitless full debut for Cole as got no change out of Mawene and Co and was substituted in the 72nd minute.

The omens were not good for Forest for their visit to North End, who were flying near the top of the table.

Colin Calderwood’s men had conceded eight goals in their previous two away games. And true to form it was Preston with the first effort on goal, but Darren Carter’s left-footed shot flew just wide of the post.

Despite Preston’s early pressure, Robert Earnshaw did manage to hit the target for Forest but his 20-yard shot was fielded by goalkeeper Andy Lonergan.

The rare foray from the away side did nothing to dent Preston’s confidence with Barry Nicholson, Jon Parkin and Paul McKenna all going close with long-range efforts.

Forest began to grow in confidence as the half wore and they increasingly found a foothold in the game.

Cole forced a good save from Lonergan from 12 yards, but Preston continued to create shooting opportunities with Carter a constant threat from distance.

His 25-yard shot forced Forest keeper Paul Smith to tip over the bar and Mellor’s drive tested him again as Forest were looking increasingly desperate, and just after half-time Preston took the lead.

Carter was again the instigator for Preston and his cross found Mawene, who headed into the net having evaded the Forest cover.

Minutes later, 36-year-old Cole had the opportunity to level the scores but fired wide from six yards.

Preston capitalised on the miss and doubled their lead.

McKenna began the sweeping move when he drove into Forest’s half and supplied Nicholson on the right.

The midfielder carried the ball before crossing for Mellor to head home his second league goal of the season.

But Forest were back in it when defender Mawene diverted Lee Martin’s cross past his own goalkeeper midway through the second half.

Cole was then replaced by Nathan Tyson and the jet-heeled striker almost made an impact but Mawene made up for his own goal by blocking the shot.

Earnshaw should have hit the target with 10 minutes to go but he blazed high and wide, allowing Preston to hold on and record their fourth win in five games at Deepdale.

The win thrilled PNE boss Alan Irvine: “The boys are absolutely delighted at the moment. They are full of themselves. But the players are sensible not to get carried away or anything.

“There’s no way I would even be thinking about promotion at the moment – maybe when there are six games left not six games gone.”