Retro: The night Preston North End wished Sir Tom Finney happy birthday with victory over Brighton in 2005

Preston North End said ‘happy birthday’ to Sir Tom Finney in style in April 2005.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 12:30 pm

On the night of his 83rd birthday, Sir Tom watched from the stand named in his honour as his beloved Lilywhites beat Brighton 3-0 at Deepdale.

At half-time, the great man came on to the pitch he graced for so many years to be presented with a birthday cake and six huge birthday cards which fans had signed in the club shop.

There was a rousing chorus of ‘happy birthday’ from the 14,000 crowd, with the players doing their job over 90 minutes to make the evening a special one for the football knight.

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Sir Tom Finney was presented with a cake and cards on his 83rd birthday during half-time of Preston North End's win over Brighton in April 2005

Graham Alexander, Richard Cresswell and David Nugent scored the goals which kept North End firmly on course for the play-offs, Billy Davies’ men on a run of just one defeat in 18 games.

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PNE boss Davies said: “It was great to give Sir Tom three points on his birthday. That’s what we asked for from the players before the game.

"It’s nice that we could play like that and help the celebrations along.”

The birthday cake for Sir Tom Finney during the presentation at half-time during the Preston North End v Brighton & Hove Albion game

It was a dominant performance from Preston – clad in all white – to the extent Brighton didn’t register a shot on or off target.

The Seagulls did play an hour with 10 men after Gary Hart was shown the red card for bringing down Cresswell when through on goal.

Referee Phil Prosser awarded North End a penalty and dismissed Hart for an early bath, Alexander stepping-up to the spot and hammering the penalty into the top corner.

The Lilywhites doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time, Alexander’s cross field pass finding Eddie Lewis on the left-wing.

Preston North End celebrate their opening goal against Brighton in April 2005

America international Lewis beat his man and delivered a cross which Cresswell turned past the Brighton keeper into the far corner of the net.

It was 3-0 six minutes into the second half as PNE turned the screw on their visitors.

Chris Sedgwick fed a pass down the right hand side of the box to find Paul McKenna, the midfielder’s low cross finding Nugent who fired home a right-foot shot from 12 yards for his fifth goal in 10 games.

PNE: Nash, Alexander (Davis 80), Mawene, Lucketti, Davidson, Sedgwick (Agyemang 83), McKenna, O’Neil (Folly 83), Lewis, Cresswell, Nugent. Subs (not used): Hill, Ward.

David Nugent scores Preston North End's third goal against Brighton