Beckford's Wembley Hat-Trick Fires Preston to Promotion

  • May 24, 2015 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/ad44f

Jermaine Beckford scored a hat-trick, as Preston North End beat Swindon Town 4-0 in the League One play-off final at Wembley Stadium.

Beckford, whose last hat-trick came for Leicester City in an FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest in January 2012, became only the third man to net three times in a play-off final - following in the footsteps of Clive Mendonca, for Charlton Athletic in 1998, and Scott Sinclair, for Swansea City in 2011.

Victory for the Lilywhites ensured promotion to the Championship and a first success in the play-offs, at what was the tenth time of asking.

Beckford, who joined North End on loan from Bolton in November, ends the campaign with 18 goals for the League One side, who will be hoping to sign the 31-year-old on a permanent transfer in the summer, after Wanderers revealed last week that he will not be offered a new contract at Macron Stadium.

After scoring in each of their semi-final legs against Chesterfield, Beckford opened the scoring inside three minutes at Wembley, as he stole in ahead of Nathan Thompson to prod home an inswinging free-kick from Paul Gallagher.

Paul Huntington doubled their advantage from close range on 13 minutes, before Beckford made it three, with his second of the evening, by curling home an outstanding strike from the edge of the Swindon box in the final minute of the first half.

Beckford completed his hat-trick on 57 minutes, as he raced clean through in the Swindon half before slotting calmly beyond Wes Foderingham to seal a 4-0 victory and a place in the Championship next season.

A calf injury forced Beckford off the field midway through the half, with former Wanderers captain Kevin Davies taking his place, but that was the only blip on a memorable occasion for both player and club, who return to the second tier after a four-year absence.

Preston North End: Johnstone, Clarke, Wright, Huntington, Woods, Kilkenny, Welsh, Johnson (Johnson 82), Beckford (Davies 68), Garner, Gallagher (Browne 37)
Subs Not Used: Humphrey, Reid, Struckmann, Hugill
Goals: Beckford 3,44,57, Huntington 13

Swindon Town: Foderingham, Thompson (Ricketts 5), Stephens, Turnbull, Byrne, Luongo, Kasim, Gladwin (Thompson 58), Toffolo (Williams 66), Obika, Smith
Subs Not Used: Hylton, Belford, Rodgers, Raphael
Booked: Kasim

Referee: Andrew Madley
Attendance: 48,236
Venue: Wembley Stadium (London, England)

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