Nostalgia: Bittersweet victory for Preston at Coventry in 2002 after injury to Ricardo Fuller
Preston North End’s victory at Coventry City in November 2002 was a bittersweet outcome.
The three points were welcome, stretching their unbeaten run in the league to four matches.
However, a knee injury suffered by star striker Ricardo Fuller in the closing stages of the game proved to be far more serious than first envisaged.
A scan a couple of days later was to reveal a torn anterior cruciate ligament and that ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Fuller was stretchered off the pitch after a collision with Mo Konjic.
Something was said from the crowd just as he was about to head down the tunnel, prompting the Jamaica international to jump off the stretcher and confront the Coventry fans.
The fact Fuller had been able to do that gave the impression it was not a bad injury, but the scan results proved otherwise and he later underwent surgery in America.
Richard Cresswell and Eddie Lewis scored the goals to give PNE their victory at Highfield Road.
Cresswell struck early doors before Coventry levelled with 10 minutes left.
North End still had plenty in the tank though, with Lewis volleying the winner two minutes from time.
Craig Brown had named an unchanged line-up for the third game in a row, something the Scotsman had rarely done since taking the PNE job that summer.
Brown’s boys made the best of starts, going in front in the seventh minute.
Dickson Etuhu won the ball in midfield and played it to Fuller on the right hand side of the box.
Fuller teed-up Cresswell who hammered a shot into the net past goalkeeper Gary Montgomery, who was making his Sky Blues debut.
Cresswell almost doubled the lead with a curling shot which dropped inches wide.
Although North End had the better of the first-half play, it needed a good save from David Lucas to keep them in front.
He stuck out a leg to stop Dean Gordon’s low shot, the ball lobbing up against the bar before the danger was dealt with.
The second half saw chances at both ends, with Eric Skora missing a great chance to make it 2-0.
Paul McKenna’s cross found Skora in the box with just the keeper to beat, but the French midfielder got his feet in a tangle and could only stab a tame effort straight at Montgomery.
Coventry equalised in the 80th minute, a corner from Sky Blues player/manager Gary McAllister met by Calum Davenport, who looped a header over Lucas into the far side of the net.
Fuller went off a couple of minutes after, but PNE were to have the final say.
In the 88th minute, Graham Alexander lifted a free-kick into the box. McAllister’s clearing header went straight up in the air and landed at the feet of Lewis, who volleyed home.
PNE: Lucas, Alexander, Lucketti, Murdock, Edwards, Skora (Rankine 89), Etuhu, McKenna, Lewis (Cartwright 88), Fuller (Healy 82), Cresswell. Subs (not used): Broomes, Moilanen.