So many landmarks have been reached by Preston North End during their amazing journey towards 5,000 Football League games.
In his series, Mike Payne aims to recount some of those milestones and remember all those fine players that made it possible.
Back on October 7th 1950 the Lilywhites travelled to Kenilworth Road, Luton for a division two game. The Hatters’ fans were desperately sad that Tom Finney, who was injured, was not fit to play, in this match, or the England international he was scheduled to play in.
Finney was the star attraction, even when North End played away from home. This was a strange game because Luton had much of the play, but their poor finishing and their ponderous football cost them dearly in the end.
Meanwhile, the Lilywhites had only two chances in the game, but they scored from both of them. The first of these came in the 17th minute when Angus Morrison crossed from the left and Ken Horton, met the ball and prodded home to make it 1-0.
This was one of 36 league goals scored by Horton, who was an attacking inside forward. That goal was also North End’s 3,000th in their history.
The hosts had the better of the half, but just could not score. The second half also belonged to Luton, but in the 52nd minute PNE had their second chance, and took it, as Charlie Wayman volleyed home from a cross by Harry Anders.
Were North End safe? Luton had other ideas and they threw everything at the visiting defence for the remainder of the match. The problem for the Hatters was that they could not find the coolness in front of goal, despite their overall dominance. In fact, it was the very last kick of the match that saw Alec Glover finally hit the target and pull a goal back.
In the wider context this win for North End set the club on the way to a terrific division two Championship, winning promotion back to the top flight again. We finished five points clear of runners-up Manchester City, and despite losing 11 games to their nine games, we actually won 26 to their 19 and scoring 91 goals in the process!
The season of 1950/51 certainly was a memorable one for all North End fans.
Did You Know?
Did you know that in Football League games PNE have hit six goals, seven goals, eight goals, nine goals and ten goals in various single matches?
One of the most famous of those came on the last day of the 1965/66 season when Cardiff City were the visitors.
It was May the 7th 1966, two days before my 17th birthday and just under three months before England’s World Cup win. We beat the Welshmen 9-0 at Deepdale, and I distinctly remember my brother Graham coming into the shop where I was working at the time looking like death warmed up!
“What on earth is the matter?” I asked. “North End won 9-0!” He replied.
Two players scored hat-tricks that day, the wonderful Brian Godfrey and the mercurial winger Ernie Hannigan. Brian Greenhalgh scored two and skipper Nobby Lawton added the other. Needless to say, the crowd were quick to chant ‘we want ten’ after the total reached nine!
Who scored the first league hat-trick for PNE? It came against Stoke, before they added ‘City’ to their name, in a 7-0 win here at Deepdale on October 6th 1888.
The man responsible was the incomparable Jimmy Ross, who actually managed four goals in the game.
That first season of league action set up lots of records, and including Ross’s, there were a total of four hat-tricks that season. Jack Gordon scored three in another 7-0 win, this time against Notts County, but the man who takes the honour of being the first to score two league hat-tricks was John Goodall.
They came in two consecutive matches too, the first against Wolves in a 5-2 win, and the second in that same match against Notts County.