Two things to look back on from years gone by and for the second day in succession we are looking at a very memorable night at Deepdale from this day 26 years ago!
It was to prove to be a last hurrah for the plastic pitch at Deepdale, which, by the end of the night, was heading home with swathes of supporters, who ripped it up after an astonishing comeback.
The Lilywhites were 2-0 down from the first leg at Plainmoor, an advantage that had never been overcome in Play-Off past before this particular night, but John Beck’s side were to make history in front of a vocal and eventually jubilant crowd.
With the team’s form having taken something of a dip over the second half of that season, coming from two down was going to be a challenge and their opponents from Devon were managed by former PNE defender and 1982 player of the year Don O’Riordan, which added even more flavour to the occasion.
The Lilywhites started early in respect of trying to turn the tie in their favour. Just eight minutes were on the clock when Tony Ellis headed North End in front on the night.
On the quarter-hour mark though, there was a big setback for Beck’s men, however, as Torquay equalised through Gregory Goodridge.
A key moment though was to come when a red card was issued for the visitors’ central defender Darren Moore for swinging a punch at Paul Raynor nine minutes before half-time.
And PNE took full advantage of playing against ten men, Ian Bryson’s cross headed home by David Moyes, before early in the second half, Stuart Hicks got his head to a Raynor corner to make it 3-1 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate.
Torquay held out to take the game into extra-time and as things stood, North End were facing defeat on the away goal rule, which was still in play in those days of the Play-Offs, but with four minutes left, Andy Fensome lifted a cross into the box and there was Raynor to head home and spark scenes of celebration.
At the final whistle, North End fans swarmed on to the pitch to celebrate and to rip up the pitch, much of which still remains in gardens, sheds and garages throughout the city!
It was the first time PNE had reached Wembley since the 1964 FA Cup Final, with Martin O’Neill’s Wycombe Wanderers awaiting them at the Twin Towers.
Finally, one of two World Cup winners to play for and manage North End celebrates his 72nd birthday today.
Nobby Stiles joined his former Manchester United and England team-mate Bobby Charlton at Deepdale in 1973, following a spell at Middlesbrough.
After two seasons as a player, Nobby retired before taking over as manager and taking the club to promotion in 1978, but he lost his job after relegation in 1981.
Sadly, Nobby is one of many ex-pros currently living with dementia as a result of his playing career and everyone at Deepdale sends their best wishes to Nobby and his family.