Preston North End memory match - Lilywhites score four in victory over Derby County in March 2003

Preston striker George Koumantarakis in action against Derby in 2003
Preston striker George Koumantarakis in action against Derby in 2003

Preston North End staged a demolition of Derby in their meeting at Deepdale in March 2003.

They beat the Rams 4-2 on a wet March afternoon and were four goals the good by the 51st minute.

Graham Alexander, Richard Cresswell and George Koumantarakis celebrate Preston's first goal against Derby

Graham Alexander, Richard Cresswell and George Koumantarakis celebrate Preston's first goal against Derby

Four different players got on the scoresheet – Graham Alexander, Dickson Etuhu, George Koumantarakis and Richard Cresswell.

They beat the Rams 4-2 on a wet March afternoon and were four goals the good by the 51st minute.

Fabrizio Ravenelli gave the scoreline some respectability with two late strikes – those down more to the home side easing off the gas rather than the efforts of the Rams.

It was a fifth victory in six games for North End, one which lifted them into the top half of the table for the first time in three months.

Dickson Etuhu after scoring for Preston against Derby in 2003

Dickson Etuhu after scoring for Preston against Derby in 2003

By taking the three points, they completed the league double over Derby having won 2-0 at Pride Park six months earlier.

Preston turned on the style for this clash, with their performance arguably one of the best in Craig Brown’s first season in charge.

They were ahead inside the opening quarter of an hour, the foundations laid by a fine move down the left.

Paul McKenna collected a pass on the wing and laid the ball inside to Koumantarakis.

Richard Cresswell slides home Preston's fourth goal

Richard Cresswell slides home Preston's fourth goal

He in turn played in Lee Cartwright, the winger’s pass finding Alexander who drove a low shot past Lee Grant.

North End stayed on the attack, Cresswell seeing a shot blocked by Grant and Koumantarakis a coat of boot polish away from reaching an Eddie Lewis pass.

They made it 2-0 in the 25th minute, Lewis cutting out a pass from Robert Lee in midfield.

Lewis motored down the left and fed a pass inside to find Koumantarakis.

Chris Lucketti challenges Derby's Italian striker Fabrizio Ravenelli in the air

Chris Lucketti challenges Derby's Italian striker Fabrizio Ravenelli in the air

The striker’s powerful shot was parried by Grant, Etuhu following up to sweep the ball home from 12 yards.

PNE lost the services of keeper Jonathan Gould in the 37th minute.

He pulled up with a groin strain and off the bench came David Lucas for his first slice of action since January 1.

Lucas had hardly had time to pull his gloves on when North End scored their third goal at the other end.

Cresswelll’s pass played in Alexander down the right, his low cross fumbled by Grant.

Koumantarakis was first to the loose ball to force it over the line from four yards.

For ‘Big George’ that was a big moment – a first goal in Preston colours.

The South African had signed from Swiss club Basel and this was his seventh game for PNE.

Having led 3-0 at the break, Brown’s men only had to wait six minutes of the second half to find the net a fourth time. Lewis’ corner from the left was cleared back out to him, the winger having the time to knock it into McKenna’s path.

McKenna lifted a cross to the far post, Chris Lucketti headed it into the six-yard box where Cresswell slid in to knock the ball home.

In the final 15 minutes North End’s concentration dropped and they shipped two goals.

The first came when sub Michael Keane conceded a free-kick to the left of the box.

That was rolled into the path of Craig Burley, his low shot diverted into the net by Ravenelli.

The silver-haired Italian striker had been anonymous until then but was to get on the scoresheet again deep into stoppage time.

Burley lifted over a cross from the left, ex-Juventus man Ravenelli heading home after getting the better of PNE skipper Lucketti.

Those two goals were just a blip on an otherwise great afternoon’s work, one which was watched by a crowd of 14,003.