PNE retro: Kurt Nogan off the mark for Preston North End against Watford in 1997

Kurt Nogan scored for the first time in Preston North End colours to fire them to victory over Watford at Deepdale in August 1997.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 3:00 pm

Nogan had kept the PNE supporters waiting to show what he was about in front of goal following a £150,000 move from Burnley five months previously.

One goal quickly became two, the Welshman netting in each half against a Hornets side managed by Graham Taylor.

The former England boss had returned for a second spell in charge that summer.

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Preston North End striker Kurt Nogan with manager Gary Peters after scoring twice against Watford in August 1997

Taylor’s men had topped the Second Division table after three games coming into this contest.

But they found North End a tough nut to crack as Nogan found his scoring touch.

While the striker grabbed the headlines, his defensive colleagues earned a pat on the back too.

Watford put them under pressure, but PNE’s backline protected goalkeeper Tepi Moilanen very well.

PNE striker Kurt Nogan shields the ball from a Watford player at Deepdale

Michael Jackson and Ryan Kidd were rock solid in the centre of defence, with full-backs Gary Parkinson and Dean Barrick impressive.

North End had to weather an early storm from the visitors but they soon settled into the contest and began to boss it.

David Reeves had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside.

A diving header from Michael Appleton went just wide and Lee Ashcroft saw an effort cleared from under the bar.

PNE winger Lee Ashcroft is tackled against Watford at Deepdale

Nogan broke the deadlock seven minutes before the interval.

Parkinson’s pinpoint cross from the right was met on the volley by Ashcroft, that effort blocked.

The ball fell to Nogan who saw his first effort hit the legs of a defender. He made no mistake with the second, steering a shot into the bottom corner.

Watford came out on the attack after half-time, Gifton Noel-Williams putting the ball in the net but the flag had long gone up for offside.

Two long-range efforts from Richard Johnson were blocked.

PNE doubled their lead in the 67th minute having held off Watford’s pressure.

Parkinson took a quickly taken free-kick, rolling it down the right-wing to find the run of Reeves.

His low cross evaded Micah Hyde and Steven Palmer to run to Nogan who picked his spot with a fine low finish into the corner.

Nogan stayed on the pitch for another five minutes before being substituted by PNE manager Gary Peters.

The striker received a standing ovation from the Preston faithful for his goals and efforts, he also got a hug from his boss as he went to sit in the dug out.

This was a second league win of the season for North End and fourth in total after two victories over Rotherham United in the League Cup.

They were to win their next league game too before hitting a bumpy patch.

PNE: Moilanen, Parkinson, Jackson, Kidd, Barrick, Cartwright (Darby 77), Rankine, Appleton, Ashcroft, Nogan (Macken 72), Reeves. Sub (not used): Gregan.

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