PNE retro: Dream home debut for Ronnie Jepson as Preston North End hit Burnley for six

Ronnie Jepson announced himself to the Preston North End faithful in style by netting a hat-trick on his Deepdale debut to sink local rivals Burnley in February 1991.

Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 3:00 pm
Ronnie Jepson fires home in Preston North End's 6-1 win over Burnley in the Leyland Daf Cup in February 1991

The burly striker had been signed the week before from Port Vale and pulled on a PNE shirt for the first time in a 1-0 league defeat at Huddersfield.

This Leyland Daf Cup northern semi-final tie was his first appearance at home and finding the net three times in a 13-minute spell in a 6-1 romp was some way to introduce himself.

Not that it was a one-man show, with Graham Shaw scoring twice and substitute Lee Ashcroft finishing off the rout.

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Graham Shaw gives Preston the lead against Burnley

Lilywhites manager Les Chapman had persuaded the board to bring Jepson in for a £50,000 fee as he sought to add cutting edge to the side.

Too many times in the 1990/91 season, North End had played some decent football but had not been able to finish teams off.

In front of a 12,016 crowd, the biggest all season by some distance, PNE went in front after only 76 seconds.

David Thompson nipped in to intercept a weak back header from Ray Deakin and square a pass into the path of Shaw who rolled a shot past Clarets goalkeeper David Williams.

Ronnie Jepson runs to celebrate with Graham Shaw after scoring for PNE against Burnley

Jepson doubled the lead in the 24th minute, latching on to a free-kick played from deep to fire past Williams with a right-foot volley which caught a deflection.

His second and Preston’s third was the best of the evening.

Jeff Wrightson pumped a free-kick into the box which Jepson rose to meet and twisted his neck muscles to power home a header.

Jepson’s hat-trick came in the 37th minute thanks to some fine approach work from Shaw.

Graham Shaw celebrates netting PNE's fifth goal against Burnley at Deepdale

It was Shaw who moved confidently into the box before picking out Jepson who gleefully side-footed home from six yards.

As home debuts go, it was a dream one for the big man with the red hair.

North End continued to boss the game after the interval.

Their fifth goal came in the 58th minute, Jepson this time supplying Shaw.

Preston's Warren Joyce tries to close down a Burnley clearance

The new man made a powerful run down the left channel and crossed low for Shaw to slam home.

Burnley substitute Ian Bray netted a consolation in the 84th minute, by which time few of the visiting fans were still in the ground.

PNE weren’t finished though, getting their sixth of the night four minutes from time.

Ashcroft, who had come on for Jepson, collected possession deep in the Burnley half as North End counter-attacked at pace.

The youngster left the Bunrley defence in his wake to finish confidently.

There had been other chances for the home side too, Warren Joyce seeing a shot hit the foot of the post.

Thompson, Jepson and Gary Swann all went close on a night when PNE clicked into gear in some style.

PNE: Farnworth, James, Hughes, Flynn, Wrightson, Thompson, Joyce (Eaves 75), Swann, Harper, Jepson (Ashcroft 73), Shaw.