Memory match: Preston North End's first-half demolition of Norwich City in September 2001
Preston North End didn’t mess around in getting the better of Norwich City 4-0 at Deepdale in September 2001.
They had the game in the bag by half-time, scoring four first-half goals without reply.
Canaries owner Delia Smith, who had interrupted her holiday and flown in from Italy to watch the game, must have wished she had stayed on the sun lounger.
Graham Alexander had PNE ahead from the penalty spot inside two minutes, with Jonathan Macken doubling the lead before the quarter-hour mark.
Left-back Rob Edwards headed a third in the 33rd minute before Macken, who was on the transfer list at the time by request, netted again just before the interval.
Job done, the second half producing no further goals as David Moyes’ men made do with what they had.
Victory in the final week of September was only their third in the league of the season, North End having suffered a hangover from their play-off final defeat to Bolton four months earlier.
Those three wins had come in the space of 11 days, the green shoots of recovery in evidence.
PNE did it all without their skipper Sean Gregan who was suspended, Paul McKenna tucking inside to partner Mark Rankine in midfield with Iain Anderson coming in on the wing.
Moyes reunited Chris Lucketti and Michael Jackson at the heart of the defence for the first time since their Bury days – Lucketti had signed a month earlier and displaced Jackson from the side.
Jackson got a recall in place of the injured Colin Murdock.
PNE could not have asked for a better start as Rankine surged through on the left of the box after 30 seconds and went down in a side-on challenge from Craig Fleming.
Referee George Cain had no doubt it was a penalty and pointed straight to the spot.
Alexander stepped forward to plant the spot-kick into the bottom-left corner.
In North End’s previous home game, some fans had booed Macken after he had made a transfer request.
That was all forgotten as the striker made it 2-0 in the 15th minute.
David Healy put in a ferocious tackle in midfield to win the ball from Fleming, it sprang forward into the path of Macken and, despite a lunging challenge from Darren Kenton, the striker sent the ball scorching into the top-left corner from just inside the box.
Healy went close a couple of times as the one-way traffic towards the Town End continued.
The third goal came on 33 minutes and Healy played a big part in setting it up.
An Alexander corner on the left was hit long and dropped for Healy on the right of the box, he chipped the ball back across to the unmarked Edwards and his header hit a Norwich player as it flew in.
In first-half stoppage time it was 4-0. For the third time, Healy was the provider.
Alexander turned the ball into the striker, he flicked it through and Macken hammered it into the top-right corner off the inside of the post.
Any thoughts of another avalanche in the second half vanished as Norwich forced their way back into the game in a more evenly-contested 45 minutes.
Tepi Moilanen saved from Steen Nedergaard and twice from Alex Notman.
PNE substitute Richard Cresswell was denied a late goal when his shot was deflected against the post.
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