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Countdown To 5,000: Part Six

1 June 2020


Countdown To 5,000: Part Six

1 June 2020

I don’t know about you, but I hate it when North End lose 1-0! It is a score that really irritates, especially when the internet shows us a goal down, and you are willing it to change, watching from some far off place.

Sometimes it changes and we go 2-0 down, but that’s another story. When I was researching this series, I wanted to find out how many league games we have lost by a single goal? I now have the answer.

Last April, our 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United took the total to 398. I suppose, as that is out of a total, to the end of last season, of 4,960 matches, it is not as bad as I thought.

We average 3.3 per season over the 121 seasons played so far, but during that time we have had some seasons where we have had quite a few more than 3.3. The worst has been eight 1-0’s in a season, and we have managed that three times, in 1920/21, 1924/25 and then again as recently as 1996/97.

As a former goalkeeper of some note (!) I hated losing 1-0, and I had quite a few games where I had a blinder, made one mistake, and we lost 1-0. So, spare a thought for the goalkeepers in those seasons.

George Wilcock and Arthur Causer were the custodians for those scores in 1920/21, Jimmy Branston and George Prout for 1924/25 and then Bobby Mimms and Kelham O’Hanlon for the 90s season. 

More than once, I’m sure, they would have questioned what their forwards were doing, as we only needed one goal! The keeper I feel most sorry for is one of our all-time favourites, Tepi Moilanen. 

You may remember that during the 1999/2000 season the giant Finnish goalkeeper set a new record of keeping 23 clean sheets in league games that campaign. What you might not know, is that he is the only keeper in North End’s league history to keep goal in three consecutive 1-0 defeats!

It happened during the 1997/98 season when we lost to Wrexham, Plymouth Argyle (both at home) and then York City away in the space of 11 days, each by one solitary goal.

Looking back at the reports of those three games, they were all similar defeats. We had lots of the play, had chances galore, but met with rotten luck, shots off the line, hitting the woodwork etc., and found opposing goalkeepers having inspired games.

The York game was the worst, as we pulverised them, but could not score. Then, just after the hour mark, York broke away and scored with their only real attack of the match!

The North End fans were upset during this run, the players were upset, and manager Gary Peters was tearing his hair out, as was Tepi probably!

For the next game, Peters brought in Tony Lormer, PNE went to Luton, and we won 3-1, drought over! I haven’t yet looked to see how many games we have won 1-0, but there are quite a few, and like me, you probably enjoy that scoreline when it is in our favour.

3,000 Up

We are currently nearing our 5,000th league match, but during the 1975/76 season we reached the 3,000 mark. The match took place at Millmoor, Rotherham’s old ground, and not for the first, or last time, had to come from behind to rescue a deserved point in this landmark game.

Alan Crawford gave the home side a tenth minute lead before Gordon Coleman scored to give the Lilywhites their draw. Manager Harry Catterick was delighted with his team’s performance, but local reporter added that: “Although Preston played well, they were not quite the old Invincibles.”

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