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Countdown To 5,000: Part Five

7 May 2020

Mike Payne takes us through part five of his countdown to the club’s 5,000th game, with plenty of quirky facts.

For this series I have researched every one of the Football League scores that Preston North End have mustered during this run-up to their total of 5,000 games, and it has been very revealing.

All sorts of quirky facts have emerged and I will enlarge on them over the months in this series.

The first one I want to ‘amaze’ you with is in the fact that it took North End 679 games before they lost by a score of 4-3! Bearing in mind that this all started back in 1888, it was actually on December 11th 1909, over 21 years later that they finally lost a match 4-3.

The game was at Deepdale and was quite an occasion as the visitors were Woolwich Arsenal, later, of course, to become just plain old Arsenal.

We had played each other 16 times previously in the league, and it must be said we had a poor record against them. Only three wins, and nine draws, so we found it hard to beat the Londoners. 

This game was their ninth visit to Preston and it turned out to be one of the most amazing games thus far in North End’s history. It all began so well for the home side as they virtually played ‘The Arsenal’, as they were known then, off the park, for much of the first half.

They scored two good goals, first when Fred Parnell weaved down the right before pulling the ball back for Arthur Mounteney to head home. Soon afterwards it was 2-0 to the Lilywhites as a fine pass by James Bannister to David McLean, and his shot was past the goalkeeper in a flash.

It was at this point that PNE made their fatal mistake. They stopped working and bustling, allowing Arsenal to come back into the play, and how marvellously they managed it.

With North End seemingly in command they conceded a poor goal with five minutes to go before the break. David Greenaway picked his way through the home defenders with, and I quote from the report, ‘the daintiness and delicacy of a dancing master!’. From his cross Bill Buckenham was left with a simple task to beat Peter McBride in goal.

Seconds later and, incredibly, the score was 2-2. This time Greenaway’s cross was missed by everyone, especially McBride, leaving David Neave with a shot against an empty goal. So, instead of being 2-0 up at the break, as they should have been, the home side were now facing a side with their tails up.

Early in the second half Roddy MacEachrane set up Buckenham for his second goal, and then Neave scored another with a shot in off the crossbar with McBride surprised by the shot from an acute angle.

Just as Arsenal had earlier fought back from a two-goal deficit, now it was North End’s turn to try and do the same. With 15 minutes left McLean scored another good goal, and from then on the Arsenal had to defend desperately to protect their lead.  They managed it, but only just, and PNE were very unlucky when Mounteney’s late header struck the crossbar.

So, finally, after 21 years we had lost a game by the odd goal in seven, it wasn’t to be the last time though.

1,000 Up

On March 9th 1907 Preston North End played Derby County in a division one game here at Deepdale. We won 1-0. Not too much significance in that result except that the winning goal was the club’s 1,000th in the league.

The goal was scored by Percy Smith, one of 94 league goals the player scored whilst at Deepdale. Sadly, he didn’t manage a ton overall, because he only scored one FA Cup goal, but he certainly knew where the goal was!

To give you some idea of how our goals for outweighed the goals against, it took a further four years for us to concede our 1,000th goal.

It came in the Boxing Day match against Blackburn Rovers, again here at Deepdale, in 1911, and it was their first goal in a 2-2 draw that reached that landmark.

I have no intention of finding out who that Rovers infiltrator was, suffice to say it was obviously well offside!

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