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These teams met for the third time on the lively plastic pitch at the Sports Arena, and the final result was identical to the last meeting.

North End took to the field without a number of key players. Mike Gostelow was injured due to an accident involving a litter bin and a skinful of ale, whilst new signing Anton Cwaczko was sidelined pending the arrival of his work permit. The imposing Andy Cooper was missing from the defence, whilst Iain Baggley was absent after failing to pay his mobile phone bill and getting cut off from the English speaking world.

Assistant manager Stewart Black led his team in an extravagant warm-up routine, which entailed eating a sausage butty and cracking open his packet of fags.

Millwall's settled side were clear favourites to win, and got off to a bright start, forcing Terry 'The Cat' Quinn into a couple of reflex saves, tipping one over the bar and then getting down smartly at his near post to claw a long-range effort away.

It was somewhat against the run of play that Preston took the lead on 25 minutes. Speed merchant Steve BRENNAN latched onto a Neil Higham through-ball, and after a mix-up in the visitor's defence he rounded the keeper and slotted into an empty net.

But it was at the other end where the many press photographers had gathered in search of goals. And five minutes later they were rewarded when due to a similar mix-up between keeper and defenders, the Lions equalised through a simple tap-in. Millwall were pressing frantically at this point and took the lead shortly afterwards when slack marking on the right and a sharp shot from the edge of the box left The Cat exposed.

North End's attacking options had been severely limited, with Chris Brennan making a couple of probing runs and a Mark Cassidy effort testing the keeper.

The Cat has to leave at half-time to tend to his litter, with right-winger Rob Cick taking over the custodian's duties.

Millwall began strongly again, and roared forward at every opportunity. Their third goal was a well-worked move down the right and resulted in a close-range effort being budled past the keeper.

North End looked stunned by the setback, but in a shock move they actually won a corner. The ball was half-cleared, and from the resulting scramble Big Gay Alan McCORMICK toe-poked the ball into the net for his first goal since he was a cub scout.

The comeback was shortlived, as Millwall scored again with a long-range shot wrongfooting Cick. Craig Worthington, so often the twinkle-toed midfield maestro and darling of the Deepdale terraces, decided he'd had enough of kicking the ball and decided to kick one of the visitors, who decided on retribution of his own. Referee Pete Knowles sent Worthington to the sin-bin. I am happy to report that both players made it up afterwards.

Millwall went 5-2 up, and wasted a host of other chances during the second half. New signing John Hunt rather foolishly decided to put his head in front of a volleyed shot, and was that dazed he stumbled off the pitch and was last seen wandering round Asda, still in his football kit shouting "my ball!".

A defence-splitting pass from Andy Watt (who was showing off his new slimline figure and a huge spot on his cheek), gave Steve BRENNAN the opportunity to claim his second, despite looking suspiciously offside. As the Millwall players appealed to the linesmen, they realised that he wasn't there and had disappeared for a dump.

In the end the Londoners fully deserved the win, and 5-3 probably flattered the home side. But the match has shaken off the early-season cobwebs, and the possibility of a game away to Crewe next month has rejuvenated the team.

Man of the match: Steve Brennan