PNE 4 Brentford 2
North End won a game from behind for this time this season as the visitors opened the scoring with a free header from left back Tom Field just 12 minutes in, however, McGeady levelled with a stunning pile-driver and Callum Robinson converted the Irishman’s clever through ball seven minutes after the break.
McGeady doubled his tally with another stunning third and then a further goal from Daryl Horgan – his first for the club – wrapped up the points, before Maxime Colin’s late deflected effort made the final score 4-2.
The Lilywhites had already been given a warning of the visitors threats, before the opener, when right back Maxime Colin broke with pace from right back and fired in a shot from the corner of the box that forced Chris Maxwell to palm behind for an early corner.
The lead came after another Bees attack had produced a corner and Jota’s inswinger from the right hand side found Field unmarked on the penalty spot to head home into the top right hand corner.
The goal woke North End and they started to grow into the game; Tyias Browning - on his home debut - collected a cross field ball from McGeady, raced into the box, but fired just wide after 50 yard run.
They levelled matters on 18 minutes when North End's on loan Evertonian picked up the ball 40 yards out, drove forwards ten yards before unleashing a bullet of a left foot shot that dipped into the bottom right hand corner.
The Lilywhites were now alive and a Robinson dipping half volley was well-saved by Daniel Bentley with Horgan just seeing the ball taken off his toes on the rebound.
On the half hour mark a free kick was awarded after Hugill was brought down on the edge of the box; McGeady had it and powered the ball over the wall, sending the keeper the wrong way, but inches over the left hand corner of the bar.
If the first half was a tough affair with the away side in the ascendncy, the Lilywhites raised their level to its highest standards after the break.
The Bees were given a warning of what was to come as McGeady almost made it two in the first minute after half-time, as he collected Horgan’s cross, but fired straight at Bentley from 15 yards out.
Then another clever ball from the No.14 brought the second on 52 minutes, as his slide rule pass into the box saw Robinson run in behind the defence and get a foot in front of Bentley and divert it home from inside the six yard box, with Dean Smith’s side looking for an offside that was never coming.
A rare second half danger for PNE on 63 minutes saw Greg Cunningham make an unbelievable last ditch block on the line, colliding with the post in the process to deny substitute Sergi Canos a leveller.
With 17 minutes to go North End looked like they would be awarded a penalty when Greg Cunningham was brought down in the box and referee Tony Harrington was ready to point to the spot, but the linesman’s flag went up for offside.
However, it was 3-0 two minutes later and in some style, as McGeady found the top right hand corner from 20 yards out – right on the edge of the ‘D’ - into the postage stamp top corner with a superb curling effort, this time with his right foot.
It could have been four only seconds later when Hugill went clean through on goal after a brilliant ball from McGeady. The top scorer was one-on-one with Bentley, but the keeper smothered on the egde of the box – it needed the dink from the No.25!
However, it was four on 77 minutes when a Ben Pearson through ball to the other Irish winger Horgan saw the No.7 run 40 yards and slide the ball into the bottom right hand corner from 18 yards out, his last action of the game, Daniel Johnson replacing him.
It could have been even more. Some brilliant counter-attacking saw substitute Tom Barkhuizen’s pace send McGeady down the left, he stood the ball up to the back post and Hugill’s header beat Bentley, but was an inch past the left hand post.
The deficit was narrowed in the penultimate normal time minute as Colin’s shot came off Paul Huntington, which took it away from Chris Maxwell and off the bar and in to make it 4-2.
There was still time though for more action and substitute Stevie May, making a return to first team action for the first time since his knee injury, was sent clean through on goal by Tom Barkhuizen. The former Southend goalkeeper inthe Brentford goal again made a brilliant save, spreading himself to deny the Scot a dream return and it remained four, with the Lilywhites recording the three points.
PNE line-up: Maxwell, Browning, Cunningham, Pearson, Clarke (c), Huntington, Horgan (Johnson, 82), Browne, Robinson (Barkhuizen, 68), Hugill, McGeady (May, 87). Subs not used: Lindegaard, Makienok, Beckford, Boyle.
Brentford line-up: Bentley, Colin, Bjelland, Dean (c), Jozefzoon (Canos, 56), Yennaris (Kerschbaumer, 76), McEachran (Sawyers, 76), Woods, Vibe, Jota, Field. Subs not used: Bonham, Egan, J Clarke, Barbet.
Attendance: 10,130 (414 Brentford fans)
Referee: Mr T Harrington