We look back to a memorable day 11 years ago today, as we remember the famous victory that took us into the Play-Offs in 2009.
On a Sunday afternoon, the Lilywhites squeezed into the Championship top six by the narrowest of margins after they beat Gareth Ainsworth’s Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City lost at Sheffield Wednesday.
Both sides end the season on 74 points with a plus-12 goal difference, but PNE had scored one goal more – 66 to 65!
Jon Parkin put the Lilywhites ahead from a tight angle, but Patrick Agyemang slid in a leveller before Sean St. Ledger headed the winner with 15 minutes left. North End cleared two QPR shots off the line in injury time as they held on.
But they were not to be denied as they leapfrogged the Bluebirds, who they beat 6-0 just two weeks prior, to claim the final Play-Off spot and set up a two-legged tie against Sheffield United.
They dominated for long periods of the game, but were unable to turn their possession into goals. Chris Sedgwick did have the ball in the net, but his effort was ruled offside, while St. Ledger mis-kicked from eight yards after Neil Mellor's low cross had found him unmarked.
Rangers threatened sporadically with Mikele Leigertwood sending a 25-yard strike narrowly wide, while Rowan Vine shot tamely at North End keeper Andy Lonergan from 12 yards.
But the home side ended the first half strongly and Simon Whaley saw his twice deflected shot loop inches over the bar before Parkin broke the deadlock by seizing on a weak backpass from Kaspars Gorkss and rounding Radek Cerny to score from a tight angle.
Whaley should have doubled the lead, but shot straight at Cerny from six yards after after Agyemang and Hogan Ephraim went close for Rangers at the start of the second period, the former - an ex-North End player - levelled after racing onto a neat through ball from Vine and sliding the ball beyond Lonergan via a slight deflection.
PNE piled forward in response and Cerny kept out a glancing header from St. Ledger but he could not keep out another effort from the defender after Jon Parkin's long throw had been flicked on by Chris Brown.
Rangers finished the stronger, however, and the home side were left clinging on as Youl Mawene cleared off his own goal-line in the third and final minute of injury time and, from the resulting corner, Darren Carter kicked Matt Connolly's header out from under his own crossbar with the last kick of the game.
Then manager Alan Irvine said: “To be honest, I didn't think we'd get in the Play-Offs, so it's a fantastic achievement by the lads. It's amazing to think how far we've come since this time last year, and it's also an amazing response to what was probably the lowest point I've had in my time here (a home defeat to Blackpool in April that looked to have ended their hopes of a top-six finish).
“I don't know how many times a team has won their last four games in the Championship, but it won't have happened many times. We've now had a really good season, and it could become a great one.”
There were plenty more things happening on this date, as local boy Nigel Jemson played his first game on this day in 1986. Jemson, a future fan favourite at Nottingham Forest – having signed for Brian Clough’s side after leaving Deepdale, scored eight league goals in 32 games and two more in nine games on loan in 1989 and had a career that went on all the way until 2010.
This date was also the final game of Ian Bryson in 1997, it was a 2-0 home win over Walsall, with Michael Holt’s early goal added to by David Reeves with just less than 20 minutes to go.
Bryson, who during his time at Deepdale scored an incredible overhead kick at Wembley and captained the side to the 1996 third division trophy, is still an ambassador for the club on matchdays and is much-loved in PR1.
Albert Quantrill, the only North End player born in Rawalpindi, India, made his final appearance on the wing on 3rd May 1924. Born on 22nd January, 1897. He played non-league football with Boston Swifts until he was seen by a scout working for Derby County. He signed for the second division side in 1914.
A very fast outside right, Quantrill helped Derby gain promotion in his first season at the club. Quantrill's career was interrupted by the First World War. He served in Derbyshire Yeomanry, but was sent home after developing malaria in Salonika.
He retained his good form in the first season after the war and in March 1920 was selected to play for England against Wales. Despite the surprise 2-1 defeat, Quantrill retained his place in the game against Scotland. Over the next couple of years Quantrill won four international caps.
In 1921 Quantrill was transferred to Deepdale. He joined a forward line made up of Tommy Roberts, Rowland Woodhouse and Archie Rawlings. Woodhouse, Rawlings and Quantrill provided the service for Roberts, who was the club's top scorer. He played in 64 games for PNE before leaving the club in 1924.