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First Team News

A Match To Remember: Watford

15 February 2021

First Team News

A Match To Remember: Watford

15 February 2021

It is an astonishing 20 years since Andrew Lonergan made his league debut for Preston North End, when we faced Tuesday evening's opponents in front of the ITV Digital cameras on a Sunday lunchtime.

First Team News

Watch Watford Clash Live On iFollow PNE

15 February 2021

It was a memorable day, as the Lilywhites virtually guaranteed themselves a Play-Off place with a thrilling 3-2 win over Graham Taylor's Hornet at Deepdale.

Striker Jon Macken scored two goals for North End and earned the penalty that gave them their first.
But equally crucial to the home side was 17-year-old keeper Lonergan, called into the team at the last minute after first-choice David Lucas injured his back in the warm-up.

He pulled off several excellent saves in the closing minutes as Watford piled forward in search of an equaliser.

The Hornets, whose goals were scored by Gifton Noel-Williams and Robert Page, then faced a tough task to make the Play-Offs.

Lonergan was faced with a Watford onslaught almost as soon as the game started. Tommy Mooney was particularly threatening for the visitors and went close after only a minute, firing in a low left-footed drive that Lonergan could only parry.

Yet it was PNE who took the lead after 24 minutes. Macken did brilliantly to flick the ball over Robert Page on the edge of the area. Watford defenders Paul Robinson and Steve Palmer made a hash of clearing and the striker found himself clean through before going down under a challenge from Alec Chamberlain.

Graham Alexander stepped up to thump the penalty high past the Watford keeper's right hand. The home side then stunned Watford by going further ahead.

Alexander chipped a clever ball to Iain Anderson inside the area and the Scot astutely headed across to Macken, who side-footed home from the edge of the six-yard box.

It was rough justice for Watford, who had carved out the better chances without any reward, and they deservedly pulled one back before the interval.

Neil Cox hit a speculative ball toward the edge of the area and Noel-Williams, fully 18 yards out, sent a powerful header looping over Lonergan and into the net.

At half-time Watford manager Taylor probably told his charges to test the home side's inexperienced keeper more and the ploy soon paid dividends after the break.

Lonergan failed to meet a right-wing corner and grateful Page headed in from only a yard out. But the keeper's team-mates made sure he did not have to rue his error for too long.

Almost straight after the re-start Palmer missed a long cross into the area and Macken collected before despatching a low angled drive into the goal.

First Team News

The One And Only Issue 15

15 February 2021

Watford brought on Nordin Wooter late on as they pressed for an equaliser and he brought an excellent save out of Lonergan with a low shot.

Mooney also hit the crossbar as PNE desperately held onto their advantage.

After the game, manager David Moyes praised his young stopper, saying: "It was fantastic the way Lonergan handled himself - it was a big game and he was on television."

Whilst Graham Taylor recognised the top six was now going to be a tough call: "We are going to have to do a lot of praying, hoping that Preston, West Brom and Birmingham don't win another game, but we do."

PNE line-up: Lonergan, Alexander, Edwards, Murdock, Kidd, McKenna, Anderson (Cresswell, 67), Gregan, Rankine, Healy (Cartwright, 68), Macken. Subs not used: O'Hanlon, Barry-Murphy, Gunnlaugsson.

Watford line-up: Chamberlain, Cox, Robinson, Palmer, Page, Nielsen, Mooney, Kennedy (Wooter, 81), Vernazza, Noel-Williams, Smith. Subs: Hyde, Day, Helguson, Panayi.

Referee: Tom Jones (Leeds)

Attendance: 14,071

The game, which kicks-off at 7pm, will be live on iFollow PNE, on air from 6.30pm, with Jonathan Breeze joined by a former player for full-match commentary of the clash with Xisco Munoz’s Watford side – click here now to sign up for your match pass for just £10.

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