Preston North End picked up three vital points against fellow strugglers Crystal Palace, mainly thanks to Jon Parkin’s brace of goals in a thrilling encounter.Advertisement
The striker, affectionately known as ‘the Beast’ to supporters, scored his 100th club goal in a much-needed win for Darren Ferguson’s side.
The Lilywhites got off to the perfect start on 12 minutes after Parkin nestled a shot into the bottom right-hand corner after Palace failed to clear the ball away.
But The Eagles equalised just seven minutes later, through a cracking long-strike by Owen Garvan in what was his first goal for Crystal Palace.
The fast-paced opening half continued and on the 24th minute, Parkin scored his second after a superb lofted ball from the right wing from Sean St.Ledger. He demonstrated superb control with his chest to bring it down and shot confidently low past Palace keeper Julian Speroni to give him his seventh league goal this season.
Not to be outdone by Garvan’s earlier strike, Keith Treacy hit a sensational 35-yard thunderbolt right into the top corner. Credit should be given to Ian Hume’s quick free-kick which allowed Treacy to attempt such an audacious effort with his left foot.
Preston looked out of sight after a fourth goal on the 65th minute. Julian Bennett brought down Paul Coutts in the box and referee Geoff Eltringham pointed straight to the spot. Skipper, Callum Davidson fired the penalty into the net.
But, as seen often this season, Preston’s defence let Palace back into the game. First, Andy Dorman was unmarked just outside the 18-yard box and his diving header glanced onto the post and past despairing keeper Andy Lonergan.
Controversy followed soon after as Jon Parkin was brought down in the area, but denied his chance to complete his hat-trick as Eltringham signalled for play-on.
Ten minutes later, Darel Russell scythed down Pablo Counago and James Vaughan ensured it would be a nervy finish for the PNE faithful.
In the end Preston held on for the important three points in this basement battle, and consequently rose out of the bottom three. Darren Ferguson will be looking build upon this win, but will surely want his defence to avoid letting teams back into games.
With Manchester United loanee Matty James returning from injury in this match, Preston are almost back to full-strength and face another relegation contender next week as they travel to Leicester.
Preston 4 [Parkin 13,25, Treacy 35, Davidson (pen)]-3 Crystal Palace (Garvan 19, Dorman 69, Vaughan (pen) 80
Preston: Lonergan, Davidson, St.Ledge, Brown, Jones, James, Coutts, Treacy (Gray 86′), Russell (Barton 86′), Hume, Parkin.
Palace: Speroni, Clyne, McCarthy, Bennett, Gardner, Garvan, Dorman ( Cadogan 75), Djilali (Counago 63) , Marrow (N’Diaye 88), Vaughan, Zaha.