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First Team News

On This Day… 30th April

30 April 2020

There is only really one main story from this date that we could put out and that is Tom Finney's 472nd and last ever appearance in a Preston North End shirt.

Luton Town were the opponents at Deepdale as 'Our Tom' signed off on his 14-year career with a 2-0 home win.
Almost 30,000 fans turned up to see Alec Alston and Jim Smith score the goals that put a gloss on the day.
The second half comprised lots of missed chances as the PNE players tried to set up one last goal for Tom, but he still ended up as our all-time leading goalscorer with 210 to his name.
In 1956/57 he was moved to centre forward and ended up leading goalscorer with 28 to his name; the following season he 'only' managed 26, but this included scoring in eight consecutive matches.
The Second World War had delayed the official start of Tom's career until 1946 and of course it was marked by his first senior goal in a 3-2 home win over Leeds United.
Such was his reputation that he made his England debut only 28 days later - and of course he scored then as well in a 7-0 defeat of Northern Ireland.
He went on to play 76 times and contributed 30 goals, including four against Portugal in 1950.
He never managed a hat-trick for North End and the nearest he came was scoring two in a game where he also missed two penalties!
His penalty-taking was such though that he remained our leading scorer from the penalty spot with 39 until Graham Alexander passed him in 2005.
Tom was named Football Writers' Player of the Year twice, in 1954 and 1957, and was a member of our 1954 FA Cup Final team.
He became a Justice of the Peace after retiring and a magistrate, as well as chairman of the local health authority and a successful businessman.
He was Club President and always available to advise the club's managers, but never pushed himself forward. By the time of his death in 2014, he had been knighted in 1998 and had a stand, a statue and a road past the ground in his name to remind fans forever of his status as Preston North End's greatest ever player and one of the finest the world has ever seen!
Paling into insignificance somewhat, but we have also had two wins on this date in the last 15 years, one away and one at Deepdale.
Most recently, in 2016, North End recorded their first victory in six Championship games as Daniel Johnson's winner sealed a win in injury time at Reading.
Jermaine Beckford gave the Lilywhites the lead, lobbing in following a mix-up between Paul McShane and Ali Al-Habsi. Stephen Quinn's long-range drive drew Reading level with his first goal for the club.
But DJ wrapped up PNE’s first win since a 2-1 victory over Blackburn on 2nd April with a 91st-minute finish.
Simon Grayson said afterwards: “The lads showed today that they're not on their holidays. We're making sure we finish the season in a positive manner and get as many points as possible.
“A lot of teams would maybe have settled for a 1-1 draw here, but we keep challenging the players and they've shown again that they've got a fantastic spirit for each other and the club.”
And on this day in 2006, we headed into the Play-Offs on the back of a 2-0 home win over top six opponents Leeds United in PR1. Goals from Brian Stock and Brett Ormerod gave the Lilywhites the win which sent them above their Play-Off opponent in the final Championship table.
Stock curled home a free-kick from the edge of the box before Ormerod bundled in a second goal late on.  A much-changed Leeds side struggled to create any real chances in response.
The win secured home advantage for North End in the second leg of their semi-final on 8th May, with the first leg at Elland Road on 5th May.
Another boost for Preston was the early return of leading scorer Dave Nugent, who came on for the final few minutes - just over six weeks after breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot.
PNE dominated for long spells and saw Daniele Dichio head straight at Leeds keeper Neil Sullivan from six yards out, while Paul McKenna and Simon Whaley also went close before Stock's goal.
Robbie Blake sent a low free-kick skidding wide for Leeds before half-time, but the visitors had run out of ideas even before Ormerod struck from close range to wrap up North End's win.
Then manager Billy Davies said post-match: “We are delighted to finish with three points here, with the clean sheet record for the season and with six defeats out of 46. I really can't explain how it feels to be in the Play-Offs again this season.
“To have that ticket again and to look below at some of the teams who have not made it makes me very, very proud.”

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