Memory Match: Preston North End 5 Luton Town 1 - Late goal burst clinches big Deepdale win in 2006
Fans who chose to leave early when Preston North End beat Luton Town in February 2006, did so to their detriment.
The Lilywhites won 5-1 at Deepdale to stretch their unbeaten run to 24 matches.
With the clock ticking into the final stages it looked like being a routine victory for Billy Davies’ men.
In the last eight minutes though, there were four more goals and a red card.
North End led from the 20th minute when Lewis Neal found the net. That was an advantage which David Nugent doubled early in the second half.
Job done at 2-0? Not so.
Tyrone Mears put through his own goal to seemingly bring the Hatters back into the contest.
But PNE bared their teeth after that, showing a ruthless side to respond with three quick goals.
Mears made up for his own goal with one at the right end to make it 3-1, before Chris Sedgwick and Claude Davis found the net.
Those last two goals were scored past midfielder Kevin Nicholls who was forced to pull on the gloves when Luton keeper Marlon Beresford was sent-off for bringing down Mears.
The victory kept North End in fifth place as they looked to reach the play-offs for a second season running.
After winning at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup in the midweek before this clash, PNE boss Davies brought Nugent and Brett Ormerod into the attack to freshen the side up.
The Lilywhites went in front through Neal. Youl Mawene’s ball from the back was headed on by Nugent and then Ormerod.
Neal latched on to it, rode two challenges before shooting low into the bottom corner past Beresford.
Luton boss Mike Newell was ordered from the dug out four minutes before half-time for comments made to the fourth official.
Newell had to watch the rest of the game from the Pavilion Stand and saw his side go 2-0 behind in the 53rd minute.
Paul McKenna’s pass sent Sedgwick away down the right, his cross perfectly flighted for Nugent to run in and power home a header.
Luton sent a reminder that they weren’t out of the contest, forcing Carlo Nash into two good saves.
Centre-half Davis came off the bench to replace McKenna as manager Davies looked to lock-down the 2-0 lead.
But in the 82nd minute Luton made things interesting with a bit of help from North End.
Ahmet Brković met a cross from the right with a scissor kick, the ball crashing against the bar, hitting Mears on the chestand bouncing in.
North End squashed any thoughts of a comeback from Luton with three quick goals.
Patrick Agyemang, on as a substitute for Nugent, got to the byline and pulled a low cross back into the middle.
It missed Ormerod but Mears was rushing in behind him and side-footed home to atone for his own goal.
In the 88th minute, PNE were awarded a penalty when Mears clipped the ball past a defender and raced into the box, Beresford bringing him down as he slid out.
As last man, the colour of card was red and Nicholls had to pull on the gloves.
Sedgwick sent him the wrong way from the spot, the first action of Nicholls to pick the ball out of the net.
PNE’s fifth goal came in stoppage-time.
Mears let fly with a shot from 35 yards which Nicholls parried into the path of Davis who hammered the rebound into the roof of the net.