Preston North End Memory Match: Paul McKenna and Simon Whaley hand PNE victory at Ipswich 10 years ago
Preston's visit to Ipswich 10 years ago saw them kick off the 2008/09 campaign on a winning note.
In recording a 2-1 victory, the Lilywhites became only the second team to win at Portman Road in 17 months.
Paul McKenna and Simon Whaley got the visitors’ goals, that after Ipswich had taken a second-minute lead.
The PNE supporters who had made the long journey to Suffolk must have thought they were in for a long, hard afternoon when the Tractor Boys went in front.
When Danny Haynes chipped the ball into the box, Sean St Ledger appeared to leave it in the hope Andrew Longeran would gather.
That misunderstanding gave Kevin Lisbie the chance to nip in and lift a shot over keeper Lonergan into the back of the net.
Barely 80 seconds had been played and with Ipswich having lost just once at home the campaign before, few would have backed against them going on to win.
But North End had other ideas and set about the task of getting themselves back into the contest.
They pulled level with 21 minutes played, doing so in some style.
Chris Sedgwick cut in from the left wing and fed a pass inside to McKenna.
From just outside the ‘D’, the PNE skipper let fly with a right-foot shot which flew into the top corner beyond the reach of Richard Wright.
It was McKenna’s first goal for 43 games.
Buoyed by the equaliser Alan Irvine’s men pushed on and scored a second goal 12 minutes later to nudge ahead, a lead they were to hold on to quite comfortably.
McKenna caught the home defence napping with a quickly taken free-kick which released Billy Jones on the right wing.
Jones drilled in a low cross which Whaley met first time and scooped into the roof of the net from close range.
In the second half, North End dug in to a large degree to protect their lead.
Whaley dropped off from his starting role next to Neil Mellor to provide an extra body in midfield.
Barry Nicholson, making his PNE debut after arriving from Aberdeen that summer, tucked in on the right.
Sedgwick did likewise on the left, with McKenna and Richard Chaplow staying solid in the middle.
Whaley provided the link between midfield and attack to ensure Mellor did not get isolated.
There were few scares for North End in the second half, the closest Ipswich coming to an equaliser being a shot from substitute Alan Lee which travelled beyond the far post.
Late in the game came a half-hearted appeal for a penalty when Lisbie tumbled in the box as he and St Ledger challenged for the ball.
But referee Paul Taylor was no t listening and waved play on.
“It was a very professional all-round display,” said PNE boss Irvine.
“Obviously we got off to a terrible start. I think our season started at quarter-past-three – that was the first time we made a pass.
“We played well to deservedly go in 2-1 in front.
“In the second half we were under the cosh but we showed the other side of our game.
“It was a magnificent result from a very tough opening day fixture.”