Preston North End were out of the blocks quickly in last week’s clash with Bolton Wanderers, that somewhat bucking the trend of recent seasons.
Callum Robinson and Alan Browne found the net inside the first 16 minutes to give the Lilywhites a 2-0 lead, one which Wanderers pegged back with two goals of their own in the space of a couple of minutes.
Early goals haven’t really been a feature of North End’s game of late, the approach tending to be to grow into the game, get a foothold and go from there.
In the Championship last season their earliest goal came in the 14th minute, that scored by Robinson against Middlesbrough at Deepdale on New Year’s Day.
Later that week, they got on the scoresheet just two minutes into their FA Cup tie at Wycombe, Josh Harrop scoring with a free-kick.
That was a game they went on to win 5-1.
So for PNE to strike not just once but twice in the early stages last week was an eye-opener.
The goals in the 11th and 16th minute represented North End’s best start to a game for more than three years.
In August 2015, they went 2-0 up at Crewe in the League Cup inside 13 minutes, with Jordan Hugill and Will Keane on target.
That was a game they went on to win 3-1.
Preston had done similar on the big stage at Wembley three months before in the League One play-off final.
Jermaine Beckford and Paul Huntington struck in the second minute and 13th minute as Swindon were brushed aside – they were 3-0 up by half-time with a fourth goal coming quite early in the second half.
Going further back, North End were 2-0 up inside 15 minutes and 3-0 to the good inside half an hour against Chesterfield in September 2014 – only for a striker called Eoin Doyle to pull the Spireites level with a hat-trick.
Earlier that year, two goals inside the opening 19 minutes helped propel PNE to a 6-1 win over Carlisle, the Cumbrians having a young Jordan Pickford between the sticks that afternoon.
Six years ago, North End struck after four minutes and 10 minutes in their home clash with Swindon.
That rapid fire start tipped Paolo Di Canio over the edge, the Robins boss substituting their keeper in the first half.
In September 2011, PNE were 2-0 up at Wycombe in eight minutes.
By the 27th minute of the Adams Park clash they were 3-2 down but hit back to win 4-3!