Retro: Preston North End's 2010 clash with Peterborough United - Neil Mellor bags the winner, Danny Welbeck makes his PNE debut

Preston North End’s victory over Peterborough United at London Road in January 2010 produced a few firsts.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 4:11 pm

For Darren Ferguson, it was his first win in charge of PNE – coming against the club who had sacked him two months earlier.

This was the first time the Lilywhites had won on Posh’s home patch and was a first away victory for more than three months.

Neil Mellor’s 34th-minute goal settled the contest, the striker’s first goal for a while.

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Neil Mellor scores Preston North End's winner against Peterborough in January 2010

It was the night Danny Welbeck made his North End debut, having signed on loan from Manchester United.

The future England striker had a quiet evening, Mellor the striker to make the headlines.

Ferguson had lost his first two games in charge of PNE, a 4-2 defeat at Bristol City in the league and then a 2-0 FA Cup loss to Chelsea three days before this clash.

So this victory brought a nice sense of relief to the Scot who had succeeded Alan Irvine – dismissed at the turn of the year.

Danny Welbeck is challenged by a Peterborough player on his Prestion North End debut

The game wasn’t a classic by any means, but plenty of effort was shown by both teams on a difficult, bumpy pitch.

Inside the opening minute, Mellor put over a dangerous cross from the right which found its way to Michael Hart in the middle.

The defender scuffed his shot though, the ball bouncing into the ground and hitting a defender before being cleared.

Twice in a minute, Chris Whelpdale fired high over Andrew Lonergan’s bar from outside the box and finding himself unattended.

Bandaged-up PNE striker Chris Brown challenges for the ball at Peterborough

Then a left-wing cross from George Boyd picked out Aaron McLean in the middle, his header going too close to Lonergan who dived to save comfortably.

In the process of trying to stop McLean reaching the ball, Callum Davidson took a bang on the head and had to leave the pitch for treatment.

The North End captain re-appeared five minutes later with a bandage wrapped around his head protecting a set of stitches.

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North End had a let-off after a quarter of an hour, Boyd’s shot from the edge of the box just clearing the bar.

Chris Brown joined Davidson in the wars, the striker having to be bandaged up after getting a bang on the head.

In the 32nd minute, Josh Simpson’s 25-yard drive was pushed behind by the diving Lonergan, the shot appearing to be going wide and the keeper helped it on its way.

Mellor saw a low shot from Hart’s cut-back blocked by a Posh boot, but moments later gave PNE the lead.

He collected a Ross Wallace pass just inside the box before unleashing a bullet of a left-foot shot past goalkeeper Joe Lewis.

Posh responded with Simpson shooting just over the bar on the stroke of half-time.

North End came close to doubling their lead 10 minutes into the second half, Davidson and Wallace linking up well down the left.

Davidson’s whipped over a great cross to find Richard Chaplow six yards out, but his header was superbly tipped over by Lewis.

Mellor then twice came close to adding to his first-half strike, Chaplow threading a pass through to him on the right-hand side of the box.

He struck his shot first time and low, former Morecambe loanee Lewis getting down well to block.

The ball rebounded back into his path, this time Mellor seeing his effort beat Lewis but kicked off the line by Ryan Bennett.