Preston North End 2 Crystal Palace 0: Ormerod makes instant impact to sink Palace

Click to follow

Brett Ormerod, who left Southampton last week after breaking his nose against Crystal Palace, used the same opponents last night to launch his Preston career. The striker scored a debutgoal before Brian O'Neil, having headed his first goal of the season in Saturday's FA Cup tie between these clubs, headed homejust after half-time.

It was Preston's fifth successive Championship victory; enough to lift them above Palace to fifth place and remind Billy Davies of the good thing he has going. The manager was this week the subject of an approach from Leicester City, but is more concerned with team building at Deepdale.

"Brett was first class," he said. "He hasn't even had a training session but struck a very good partnership with David Nugent. We now have five excellent strikers and this was a very good result."

Preston started strongly and their supremacy was rewarded after 14 minutes. O'Neil stole possession deep in the Palace half, leaving Ormerod to drive home left-footed from 22 yards.

Palace missed two chances in the middle of a half that ended with two bookings apiece and the officials twice had to cool feuding players, with the sides reconvening in the FA Cup next week. Both chances fell to Clinton Morrison, who volleyed Michael Hughes's free-kick over and then turned Youl Mawene before shooting straight at Nash.

Preston showed no such wastefulness and they were quickly assured of stretching their unbeaten sequence to 21 games. Graham Alexander swung over a left-wing corner and O'Neil climbed well to glance in.

"We didn't turn up in the second half and looked lack-lustre for a big, big game," said Palace's manager, Iain Dowie. "That was bitterly disappointing."

Preston North End (4-4-2): Nash; Mears, Mawene, Davis, Alexander; Sedgwick (Lucketti, 81), O'Neil (Whaley, 74), McKenna, Davidson; Nugent, Ormerod (Agyemang, 74). Substitutes not used: Dichio, Stock.

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Kiraly; Hall, Ward, Hudson, Boyce (Freedman, 67); Soares, Leigertwood, Hughes, McAnuff (Reich, 60); Johnson, Morrison (Macken, 67). Substitutes not used: Speroni (gk), Riihilahti.

Referee: E Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).