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First Team News

On This Day… 22nd April

22 April 2020

Some good and some bad memories on this date down the years! But we begin with a very memorable win from the early noughties.

It was this day on a chilly Sunday afternoon 19 years ago, as David Moyes’ Lilywhites virtually secured a Play-Off spot with a stunning 3-2 home win over top six rivals Graham Taylor’s Watford, in front of the ITV cameras.
Striker Jon Macken scored two goals for PNE and earned the penalty that gave them their first, but equally crucial to the Lilywhites was 17-year-old keeper Andrew Lonergan, called into the team at the last minute after first-choice David Lucas injured his back in the warm-up.
He pulled off several excellent saves in the closing minutes as Watford piled forward in search of an equaliser.
The Hornets, whose goals were scored by Gifton Noel-Williams and Robert Page, now faced a tough task to make the end of season lottery.
Lonergan was faced with a Watford onslaught almost as soon as the game started. Tommy Mooney was particularly threatening for the visitors and went close after only a minute, firing in a low left-footed drive that Lonergan had to parry.
“It was fantastic the way Lonergan handled himself - it was a big game and he was on television,” said David Moyes.
Yet it was PNE who took the lead after 24 minutes. Jon Macken did brilliantly to flick the ball over Robert Page on the edge of the area.
Watford defenders Paul Robinson and Steve Palmer made a hash of clearing and the North End striker found himself clean through before going down under a challenge from Alec Chamberlain.
Graham Alexander stepped up to thump the penalty high past the Watford keeper's right hand.
The home side then stunned Watford by going further ahead. Alexander chipped a clever ball to Ian Anderson inside the area and the Scot astutely headed across to Macken, who side-footed home from the edge of the six-yard box.
It was rough justice for Watford, who had carved out the better chances without any reward, and they deservedly pulled one back before the interval. Neil Cox hit a speculative ball toward the edge of the area and Noel-Williams, fully 18 yards out, sent a powerful header looping over Lonergan and into the net.
At half-time Watford manager Graham Taylor propably told his charges to test PNE’s young keeper more and the ploy soon paid dividends after the break when a right-wing corner saw Page head in from only a yard out.
But almost straight after the re-start Palmer missed a long cross into the area and Macken collected before despatching a low angled drive into the goal.
Watford brought on Nordin Wooter late on as they pressed for an equaliser and he brought an excellent save out of Lonergan with a low shot. Mooney also hit the crossbar as PNE held onto their advantage and secured a vital three points.
Mark Lawrenson made his Preston North End debut on this date in 1975, playing as a right back in a home win, also over Watford!
A local product of the youth system, he retained his place for the final two games of the season and became a regular the following term. Ever-present in 1976/77, he moved to Brighton with Gary Williams before joining Liverpool in 1981.
He went on to win five Football League titles and the FA Cup and European Cup once each, as well as three League Cup wins. One of only a few examples of fathers and sons playing for North End, his dad Tom played once in 1950s and Mark also received 39 international caps for the Republic of Ireland.
One of the more tragic stories in our club's history surrounds Derek Lewis scoring his final goal for PNE on this date in 1953. A talented inside forward, he made his name with Gillingham in February 1952.
Tipped as a future England international after 16 goals in only 40 games after moving north, the future looked bright for the 24-year-old, but he died of a sudden brain haemorrhage on 13th July 1953.
Another unfortunate memory… thankfully none of us will remember, came as we were thumped 6-0 at Huddersfield Town's Leeds Road ground in 1922!
As if the heavy first division defeat wasn't bad enough, the two sides were due to meet at Stamford Bridge just seven days later in the FA Cup Final. Not exactly a confidence booster for the Lancashire side!

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