Retro game: Preston North End's action-packed victory over Burnley in December 2007

Preston North End’s derby clash with Burnley at Turf Moor in December 2007 was a pre-Christmas thriller.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 3:00 pm
Neil Mellor and Paul Gallagher celebrate Mellor's goal in Preston North End's victory over Burnley at Turf Moor in December 2007
Neil Mellor and Paul Gallagher celebrate Mellor's goal in Preston North End's victory over Burnley at Turf Moor in December 2007

Five goals, and two red cards kept a 14,829 crowd entertained, with those in the away end making the trip home very happy.

It was North End’s first win on the road that season at the 12th attempt.

They had headed to East Lancashire rock bottom of the table and with Alan Irvine still getting to grips with the manager’s job after succeeding Paul Simpson.

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Chris Sedgwick quietens the Burnley fans after scoring for PNE at Turf Moor

Collecting three points was a sign things would go in the right direction for Irvine.

Key to this victory was him teaming-up Neil Mellor and Paul Gallagher up front.

It was the first time they had been partnered as strikers from the start.

Gallagher, on loan from Blackburn at the time, was a real handful for the Burnley defence.

Chris McCann's red card for a foul on Sean St Ledger sparks a melee in PNE's win at Burnley

As for Mellor, he set-up North End’s first goal for Chris Sedgwick and scored the second himself.

It was Simon Whaley who got the winner in the closing stages to the delight of a large travelling support.

North End needed a touch of luck inside two minutes when left-back Matt Hill appeared to use his arm to block Kyle Lafferty’s effort on the goal line.

Fortunately, referee Lee Mason deemed it was not handball and awarded a corner instead.

PNE players celebrate Neil Mellor's goal at Burnley in December 2007

It was Lafferty who put the Clarets in front in the 31st minute, looping a header over PNE goalkeeper Andy Lonergan.

Preston levelled on the stroke of half-time, Sean St Ledger bringing the ball out of defence with a galloping run up the middle of the pitch.

The centre-half laid the ball off to Mellor on the left hand side of the box, Mellor threading a low cross to the far post where Sedgwick arrived to score.

North End got their noses in front 10 minutes into the second half.

PNE skipper Paul McKenna challenges in the air with Burnley's Chris McCann

A poor goal kick from Gabor Kiraly was won in the air by Callum Davidson and headed back towards the Burnley box.

Mellor got behind Stephen Jordan, moved into the penalty area and drilled a low finish across the keeper.

Within seven minutes the home side were back level pegging, Chris McCann firing a shot past Lonergan.

Soon after that, McCann got his marching orders for a two-footed challenge on St Ledger – Mr Mason pulling out a straight red card.

With the numerical advantage, Preston pushed on in search of a winner.

Gallagher let fly with a shot from 25 yards which Kiraly pushed down into the ground and watched it bounce up against the underside of the bar.

PNE’s winner came in the 82nd minute, Whaley taking possession outside the box before hitting a fine, low finish into the net.

In stoppage-time Burnley went down to nine men, Joey Gudjonsson dismissed for a stamp on Sedgwick.

PNE: Lonergan, Jones (Mawene 73), St Ledger, Chilvers, Hill, Sedgwick, McKenna (Carter 48), Davidson, Whaley, Gallagher (Hawley 86), Mellor. Subs ( not used): L Neal, C Neal.