Retro game: Preston North End 1 Hearts 2 - When the Jam Tarts were too hot for PNE to handle in July 2006

Preston North End found Heart of Midlothian too hot to handle for a spell in their July 2006 meeting at a roasting Deepdale.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 3:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 3:14 pm

The pre-season friendly was played in the middle of a heatwave, with conditions testing for the players.

It took North End longer to adjust than it did the visitors who had been back in training longer preparing for UEFA Cup action.

Hearts, who arrived in town as Scottish cup winners and backed by 1,800 fans from Edinburgh, scored twice in the opening 18 minutes to take command.

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Preston North End winger Simon Whaley evades the attention of the Hearts defence to score at Deepdale in July 2006

Simon Whaley pulled a goal back for the Lilywhites in the 25th minute and while there were chances at both ends after that, the scoreline remained at 2-1.

This was a third friendly for PNE after the traditional visits to Bamber Bridge and Chorley earlier that week.

For Hearts, their build-up was further down the line as they got ready to play in Europe. They had previously been put through their paces at training camps in Austria and France.

Hearts owner Vladmir Romanov had also taken the players on his luxury liner for a few days of fitness work.

PNE defender Youl Mawene competes in the air with Hearts striker Roman Bednar

With that in mind, little wonder the Jam Tarts came out of the traps quicker than PNE did –that opening spell something new manager Paul Simpson found a touch frustrating.

Simpson had taken over from Billy Davies the month before, Davies having jumped ship to join Derby.

Hearts took a 14th minute lead, Michal Pospisil pass finding Roman Bednar who rifled a shot past North End keeper Andrew Lonergan.

They doubled their advantage four minutes later, Saulinas Mikoliunas robbing PNE new boy Danny Pugh of possession before finding advancing into the box and finding the net.

North End midfielder Jason Jarrett is tackled by a Hearts player

North End responded with Graham Alexander firing wide and Paul McKenna seeing a shot thud into the chest of team-mate Liam Chilvers in a goalmouth scramble.

Whaley halved the deficit after weaving past a couple of challenges and shooting home inside the box.

Hearts complained that Whaley had handled at the start of his run but the goal stood.

Bednar had the ball in the net at the other end but saw it disallowed for offside.

A Hearts pitch invader from the away end at Deepdale in 2006

Both sides made seven substitutions in the second half, a number of those squashed into a 15-minute spell which did little for the flow of the game.

Carlo Nash, on as a sub for Lonergan, dived full length to push away a shot from Ibrahim Tall’s flicked header.

Play was briefly halted when a Hearts fan ran on to the pitch, a shandy too many beforehand

perhaps fuelling his decision to enter the field of play and evade a couple of stewards in the process.

Late on, PNE defender Kelvin Wilson sent a diving header goalwards but the ball struck team-mate Patrick Agyemang and flew wide.

PNE: Lonergan (Nash 46), Mawene, Wilson, Chilvers (Neal 64), Alexander, Whaley, (Sedgwick 64), Jarrett (Stock 71), McKenna (O’Neil 71), Pugh, Dichio (Agyemang 46), Nugent (Hibbert 71).

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