Sunday 09 Aug
Updated Sunday 09 Aug 15:00
History

On this day: Debutant Connolly secures Preston success


Relegated the previous season, a new-look West Ham United started life in the second tier with a morale-boosting 2-1 success at Preston North End on this day in 2003.

Glenn Roeder named as many as four debutants in his starting XI, with Academy graduate Anton Ferdinand, Matthew Etherington, Robert Lee and Neil Mellor each making their senior bow for the Club.

But those new faces were unable to prevent a horror start for the Hammers, as the hosts took the lead inside three minutes at Deepdale. Graham Alexander swung in a right-wing cross, enabling USA international Eddie Lewis to guide a header past David James.

Fortunately, the familiar face of Jermain Defoe levelled matters two minutes thereafter, profiting from good work courtesy of Etherington and Don Hutchison. 

But it was left to another new boy, David Connolly to leap from the bench to bag the Hammers an opening-day win. Connolly, a replacement for Mellor on the hour, raced onto Etherington's pass in the 69th minute, before calmly slotting past Jonathan Gould in the Preston goal.