SASA Ognenovski made a winning return to Preston Lions on Sunday, guiding the club to a 3-0 State League 1 North-West victory over Sydenham Park.
The former Socceroos defender was deployed as a holding midfielder by Preston boss Lou Acevski, showcasing the physicality which has been a trademark of his career.
A first-half strike from Chris Davies and goals from Ryuji Miyazaki and Matko Budimir ensured the Lions marked Ognenovski’s return to B.T Connor Reserve with a win.
Ognenovski said he enjoyed featuring for Preston for the first time since 2004, but confirmed his appearance would be a one-off.
“I’m feeling every bump,” Ognenovski said.
“But it was good to get out there (and) good to get a win over a team the boys tell me we haven’t beaten for three years.
“An important win for the club … the boys kept their composure during the game, even under pressure.
“It was a good win and hopefully they can keep going from here.”
Acevski said Ognenovski’s experience was invaluable as he marshaled a defence which was without former Perth Glory player Aryn Williams.
“It’s a great honour for the club to have the big man pull the shirt back on, especially with what he has achieved in his football career since the day he left the club,” Acevski said.
“We are talking about an international star. He’s played 20-odd games for his country and captained a team to an Asian Champions League.”
Davies netted his 10th goal of the campaign after 25 minutes, giving the Lions the upper hand in the Round 17 fixture.
Preston went to the break with a 1-0 lead and pressed home its advantage after 49 minutes when Miyazaki found the back of the net.
The Lions clinched their eighth win of the campaign six minutes later when Budimir fired home from a corner.
The defender was dismissed after being shown a second yellow card shortly after, but Sydenham Park rarely threatened despite its numerical advantage.
Preston jumped to fifth on the table after Sunday’s triumph and next meets North Sunshine Eagles.
Kick-off is 3pm on Sunday at B.T Connor Reserve.