Memory match: Sheffield Wednesday 0 PNE 1, March 2003
Richard Cresswell silenced the taunts of the Sheffield Wednesday supporters when he scored Preston's winner at Hillsborough in March 2003.
The striker struck the game’s only goal 12 minutes from time to leave his former club rooted to the bottom of the First Division.
Cresswell had spent 18 months as an Owls player but got only eight starts in that time.
He moved on to Leicester but didn’t last there too long either, joining North End on loan before making the move permanent.
For whatever reason, the Wednesday fans booed him from the minute his name was read out when the teams were announced.
It was harsh treatment when Cresswell had hardly been given a chance by the South Yorkshire outfit.
He had the last laugh with the late goal which settled the game in PNE’s favour. Aside from a dodgy first quarter of an hour, North End had been the better side.
Craig Brown, in his first season as PNE boss, felt it was a deserved win.
He had plenty of praise for matchwinner Cresswell in his post-match reflections.
Brown said: “I am biased but I think Cressy is one of the best strikers in the division.
“I think he will have been pleased to have scored against Wednesday, even though they are a club he has the greatest of affection for.
“Was he fired up for this game? To be fair to Cressy, he is always fired up, he has been excellent for us.”
The opening few minutes of the contest offered little in the way of encouragement for North End.
They looked all at sea and a mix-up between goalkeeper Jonathan Gould and centre-half Michael Jackson almost let Wednesday in for an early opener.
The pair left a through ball for one another as Shefki Kuqi sniffed around.
That hesitancy let in Lee Bradbury but with only Gould to beat, lifted a shot straight into his gloves.
PNE began to settle down, Paul McKenna’s pass finding George Koumantarakis, the big striker seeing a shot go just past the post with the help of a deflection.
Ex-Preston midfielder Barry Barry-Murphy hit a shot into the side-netting.
In the second half, North End really began to get on top of their hosts.
McKenna sent a stinging shot from 25 yards crashing against the post.
Wednesday keeper Paul Evans then saved well from Eddie Lewis as the pressure really started to build. Preston’s winner came in the 78th minute.
Koumantarakis, who was enjoying his best game so far in a PNE shirt, went past two Owls players as he cut inside from the wing.
‘Big George’ let fly with a shot from the edge of the box which clipped Barry-Murphy on the backside.
Evans dived to push the deflected shot against the post, the ball rebounding to Cresswell, who slid in ahead of Daryl Powell to lift a shot into the top corner.
The frontman set off on a run to celebrate, whipping his shirt off.
North End still had work to do to protect their slender advantage.
Gould dived at the feet of substitute Michael Reddy to save, then later tipped a shot from Ashley Westwood over the bar.
The final whistle came as a relief, job done in terms of guarding Cresswell’s goal.
It was only a third away win of the season for North End in the league, their fourth coming the following week at Watford.