Whilst all 61 of our home league games have been at Deepdale, our hosts today have lived up to their name by receiving us at three different grounds since we first visited Pikes Lane in November 1888.
We played seven league games there, winning five and losing twice, before Bolton moved to Burnden Park in 1895.
We faced each other there for almost 100 years, from our first visit in March 1896 to our last in May 1993. This is only our third trip to Horwich, with each club having recorded a win so far.
The Trotters are one of seven clubs we have met more than 100 times in the various levels of the Football League, with only Burnley (126) having played us more than the 121 times to date we have faced Bolton.
Honours are pretty even at Bolton’s various homes, with 26 victories for our hosts and 21 for the Lilywhites, with 13 draws so far, whilst goals scored are not too different either, 86 scored by North End and 95 conceded.
Both clubs have recorded some big wins in this fixture, with our first two trips to Pikes Lane seeing us come out on top by 5-2 and then 6-2 and we have scored four goals on three other occasions. On the flip side, our heaviest defeat was by 6-1 in 1924 and we conceded five in both 1948 and 1964, whilst Wanderers can match our three instances of scoring four times in a home match against us.
One of the most famous recent matches came almost 25 years ago, on what turned out to be our last ever visit to Burnden Park.
We ended a season in which we had three separate managers by managing to snatch relegation from a position of comparative safety at the beginning of April, as four consecutive defeats left us needing the points from our final game at Bolton. Sadly, it was not to be, as John McGinlay’s 74th minute penalty secured a 1-0 win and condemned us to relegation when just one victory from our final five matches would have kept us up. The match passed into North End folklore when Gareth Ainsworth came over to thanks the fans at the end, the image of his face covered in floods of tears epitomising his connection with North Enders everywhere.
Numerous players have made the short journey between Preston and Bolton over the years, many of them noted goalscorers such as John Thomas, David Reeves, Tony Philliskirk, Steve Elliott and Wayne Foster.
At the other end of the pitch, Simon Farnworth and Andy Lonergan have played being defenders including Tyrone Mears, Alex Baptiste, Mick Bennett and Gary Parkinson. Sam Allardyce has a special place in the history of both clubs, having spent two separate spells with each before going on to manage both clubs.
Indeed he had been caretaker manager at Deepdale earlier in the season that ended in ‘Gareth’s match’ before finding fame during his time in charge of Wanderers.
On This Date
We have only played nine previous league games away from Deepdale on this date, winning three of them.
In the first of these games, we overcame Wolves 3-2 at Molineux in 1906, our goals coming from England internationals Percy Smith and Dicky Bond as well as a strike from Jack Bell.
It was to be another 45 years before we played away again on this date and we again emerged victorious, this time by a 3-0 scoreline at Elland Road. Tom Finney, Charlie Wayman and Ken Horton were our goalscorers that day in front of a crowd of over 42,000.
Our most recent win on this date was in 2001, David Healy’s goal and a Graham Alexander penalty in the first 25 minutes clinching the points away at Crystal Palace on the way to the Play-Offs.
Right back Hugh Dunn made his North End debut in a home win over West Bromwich Albion today in 1894. Signed from Johnstone in Scotland, a junior side not to be confused with the more famous St Johnstone. Over the next seven seasons, he established himself as a regular in the Lilywhites defence, making 181 appearances in all. This included our ‘Test Match’ against Notts County in 1894 to determine whether we kept our first division place or if we gave it up to our opponents, in an early version of the Play-Offs.
Two team-mates from the 1980s and 1990s made their last appearances for North End in the same game 26 years ago today.
Alan Kelly junior had followed his father in keeping goal for North End, making his debut as a 17-year-old in 1986. He overcame a freak broken leg, which he then broke again in his comeback game, to establish himself as a top class goalkeeper. He left for Sheffield United in 1992 before eventually returning to his hometown club as goalkeeping coach on two separate occasions, his second spell ending earlier this season.
Playing in front of Kells in that 4-1 defeat at Exeter City was Garry Swann, who was featured in our Hull City feature. Swanny left for hometown club York City that summer after being a regular goalscorer for North End from both midfield and full back positions.
Last Five Games at Bolton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers 1 (Trotter) Preston North End 2 (Hugill, Doyle), 12th March 2016
Bolton Wanderers 2 (Rankin, Ricketts) Preston North End 0, 26th August 2000
Bolton Wanderers 1 (McGinlay (pen)) Preston North End 0, 8th May 1993
Bolton Wanderers 1 (Darby) Preston North End 0, 23rd November 1991
Bolton Wanderers 1 (Reeves) Preston North End 2 (James, Bogie (pen)), 18th September 1990