Memory match: QPR v Preston North End

David Nugent remains fondly remembered by Preston fans long after his big-money exit from Deepdale.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 12th April 2018, 1:00 pm
Chris Lucketti fires home Preston's winner at Queens Park Rangers in February 2005 as Brian O'Neil and Youl Mawene watch on
Chris Lucketti fires home Preston's winner at Queens Park Rangers in February 2005 as Brian O'Neil and Youl Mawene watch on

As recently as a week last Monday, the front man got a round of applause from the Lilywhites faithful when he returned with Derby.

His 37 goals in 30 months with PNE – together with an England cap – made him a firm favourite.

Bought for £99,000 and sold for £6m, it was decent piece of business.

In terms of finding the net in a PNE shirt, it all began for Nugent at Loftus Road – the destination for Preston this weekend.

He netted their equaliser against Queens Park Rangers in February 2005.

Nugent had joined the fray from the bench 10 minutes earlier in what was his fourth substitute appearance in a row after joining from Bury.

A teenager at the time, he never really looked back.

Nugent’s goal was followed by Chris Lucketti finding the net as Preston fought back to win on QPR territory for the first time in 37 years.

Victory gave their push for the play-offs momentum which carried on all the way to the Millennium Stadium three months later.

This was the first Gentry Day, a group of Preston supporters honouring the memory of fan John Tracey.

It is a tradition which has grown immeasurably since becoming an annual event in 2008.

When this game reached half-time, a North End win looked very unlikely. Hosts QPR dominated the first 45 minutes.

A Jamie Cureton effort which rattled the bar was a warning shot across the bow.

It was one not heeded as the home side took the lead in the 26th minute.

Lee Cook’s cross from the wing found Lee Furlong who sent a header past Andrew Lonergan.

North End manager Billy Davies was later to reveal he hit the roof at half-time such was his anger at the first-half display from his players.

A double substitution was to change the course of the game, Dickson Etuhu and Patrick Agyemang replaced by Nugent and Paul McKenna.

That change was made in the 57th minute and within 10 minutes, PNE were level.

The two subs linked up to good effect, Nugent flicking the ball into McKenna’s path.

The midfielder’s shot was parried by goalkeeper Simon Royce, Nugent reacting well to nip in and lift the rebound into the net.

Preston grew in strength and scored their winner eight minutes later. A corner into the box was cleared by QPR only for it to be returned 
into the middle by Chris Sedgwick.

Nugent rose to try and get his head on it but the ball dropped over him and struck Richard Cresswell on the leg.

It rolled into the path of Lucketti, who lashed a shot into the roof of the net from 10 yards.

PNE sought to protect their lead after that, a task made harder when they were reduced to 10 men in the 81st minute.

USA winger Eddie Lewis saw red for two bookings in quick succession.

The visitors saw the game out to a close though, despite coming under late pressure.

After the match, Nugent attempted to get his hands on a souvenir to remember his first Preston goal by.

But the club’s kitman put a block on that happening.

Nugent said: “As it was my first goal I wanted to keep the shirt but the kitman wouldn’t let me.

“We only have two of the yellow away shirts each so they couldn’t spare it.”