PNE 3 Ipswich Town 2
Joe Garner stepped off trhe bench and scored a 21 minute hat-trick in a thrilling second half to put North End in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
After a drab first half Frank Nouble capitalised on a mistake at the back to make it 1-0 to Mick McCarthy's men just before the hour mark, but Garner stepped off the bench to score two goals in a minute at the mid-point of the half.
However, David McGoldrick – another sub – levelled matters again, before Garner pounced with two minutes to go to set up a tie with Billy Davies’ Nottingham Forest on Friday 24th January.
Simon Grayson made seven changes to the side that lost at Wolves the previous weekend, Will Hayhurst earning a start on the left in a 4-4-2 formation.
The team also wore black armbands to honour PNE fanatic Mick Murphy, who passed away after the first tie.
The first half was nip and tuck, with neither side testing the opposition keeper; North End’s best opportunities coming from balls in from the right by Chris Humphrey, the visitors only seeing a Frank Nouble shot deflected over the bar eight minutes before the interval.
The second half started much more brightly and a good exchange almost found Scott Laird clean through, after a clever leave by Kevin Davies from Paul Gallagher's through ball, but Tractor Boys’ skipper Carlos Edwards did well to recover and make last ditch tackle to deny the North End left back.
Mick Murphy was remembered with a fantastic response in the 54th minute, with all the fans and the benches standing to applaud and during that time North End won their first corner of the game, Kilkenny’s ball in from the right causing problems in the box, only for Ipswich to eventually hammer clear.
However, the visitors took the lead on 57 minutes. A ball in from the right was chested back to Rudd by Tom Clarke, but the keeper could not hold onto the mango coloured mathcball on the byline and Frank Nouble nipped in, checked back and fired into the empty net.
North End were level on 67 minutes. Paul Gallagher saw a shot deflected over for a corner and Neil Kilkenny’s deep ball found substitute Joe Garner at the back post and the top score flicked the ball through a crowd of players and into the empty net.
And within 60 seconds they were ahead and it was that man again…
This time pressure from North End down the left won the ball and Paul Gallagher played a diagonal ball to Garner, who controlled on the edge of the box, took a touch inside and fired low to Scott Loach’s right into the bottom corner, to make it 11 goals in 11 games for the PNE fan.
Garner then thought he should have had a penalty with 15 minutes to go, having been thrown to the ground by Christophe Berra after an excellent ball in to the front man from the right, but referee Keith Stroud waved play on and whilst North End were still in disbelief that the penalty had not been given, the visitors went up the other end and drew level.
Carlos Edwards crossed in left footed from the right hand corner of the penalty area and at the back post Tractor Boys sub and top scorer David McGoldrick was unmarked and levelled with a simple back post header from close range.
Neil Kilkenny forced Loach to get down low to save from 25 yards after Lee Holmes’ lay off with five minutes left as the game really became stretched.
But it was super sub Joe Garner who got the crowd on their feet again with two minutes left.
A free kick seemed to have been wasted by the Lilywhites, but Neil Kilkenny eventually got a ball in. Tyrone Mings seemed to be in control of it, but Garner nipped in, took the ball off him and fired low and hard into the bottom left hand corner to complete his hat-trick.
Somehow the officials found six added minutes and Ipswich through on player coach Alan Lee to add to their attacking options, but North End held on to progress to the fourth round for the first time since 2010.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Keane, Laird, Kilkenny, Huntington, Clarke, Humphrey (Wright, 90), Brownhill (Holmes, 79) Gallagher, K Davies, Hayhurst (Garner, 62). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Beavon, Byrom, Hume.
Ipswich Town line-up: Loach, Smith, Berra, Edwards, Anderson (Taylor, 73), Hunt (Lee, 90), Mings, Tunnicliffe, Tabb (McGoldrick, 74), Hyam, Nouble. Subs not used: Gerken, Lawrence, Hammond, Clarke.
Attendance: 6,088 (367 away fans)
Referee: Mr K Stroud