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First Team News

On This Day… 6th May

6 May 2020

In the last 20 years we have finished the season with wins four times on this date! And within that, it also includes the final games for a number of popular North Enders.

Firstly, 20 years ago today, the already celebrated title-winning season of 1999/2000 came to an end, where this season should have done, at Ashton Gate.
And it was a successful day for the Lilywhites, who finished the campaign with a 2-0 win against the Robins. One of the scorers that day on what proved to be his final appearance for PNE was Brett Angell.
Brett scored a very important eight goals in 15 games as we won season division title under David Moyes, with Michael Appleton the other scorer on the day.
Moving ahead a year, the last game of the regular season in 2001 saw PNE finish with a flourish, setting them up for their Play-Off semi-final, by beating fellow top six side West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at Deepdale, Sean Gregan amongst the scorers.
Advancing to 2007, we played what proved to be David Nugent’s last game in a lilywhite shirt for 12 years as he left for Portsmouth in summer.
On the day, despite Simon Whaley’s late winner over Birmingham City, PNE missed out on a place in the Play-Offs. And the Blues’ defeat, coupled with Sunderland's thumping win at Luton, also meant Steve Bruce's side missed out on the Championship title.
Whaley raced on to a long ball to outmuscle Stephen Kelly and Colin Doyle and tap home late in the second half. David Nugent hit the post and Brett Ormerod twice went close for the home side while City's Sebastian Larsson and Gary McSheffrey wasted good chances.
But other results meant North End’s battling victory was in vain as they missed out on a Play-Off by one point and one place.
PNE made a wonderful start and hardly allowed Birmingham to get out of their half in the opening 25 minutes. Nugent looked lively, the England man was unlucky not to put North End ahead in the opening ten minutes when his right-foot shot hit the outside off the post after Birmingham failed to clear a free-kick.
Ormerod then raced through on goal only to be denied by a fine tackle by Stephen Kelly and Nugent tested Colin Doyle with a well-struck 20 yard shot.
Birmingham finally responded a third of the way into the game. Nicklas Bendtner and McSheffrey combined on the right wing and Andy Cole's shot was blocked by Liam Chilvers. And with Cole still appealing for handball, Larsson almost put the Blues ahead but his strike crashed off the bar and rebounded to safety.
There was still time for Kelly to deny Ormerod for a second time, this time reacting first to turn the ball behind after Doyle spilled Whaley's fizzing low shot to keep the score level at the break. The visitors were much improved in the second half and should have gone ahead moments after the restart.
The impressive Bendtner did brilliantly to jink his way free on the right and his dinked cross fell invitingly for McSheffrey who tried to power the ball in but only succeeded in wastefully heading over from six yards.
Cameron Jerome and Dudley Campbell came off the bench as the Blues pressed for the goal that would give them the title. And Birmingham's all-out attack policy almost paid dividends in the final 20 minutes. Top-scorer McSheffrey spurned another good chance to head Birmingham ahead from a Larsson cross and also blazed a shot over. And Radhi Jaidi sent another headed chance narrowly wide for Steve Bruce's side.
But Whaley popped up to win the game, capitalising on hesitancy in the Blues defence to calmly prod the ball away from Kelly and Doyle and shoot into the empty net.
The final of the games in our look back came just two years ago and this ended up being Greg Cunningham’s last appearance for PNE as Alex Neil’s side signed off with a 2-1 home win to relegate Burton Albion, but again missed out on the top six by one place and one point as they had 11 years previously.
Callum Robinson headed the hosts in front after Josh Harrop's corner was nodded across goal by Paul Huntington.
Burton were given hope when PNE forward Billy Bodin was given a second yellow card for simulation and Hope Akpan fired in the equaliser from 25 yards out, but Louis Moult slotted in late on to win.
But Alex Neil's side finished outside the top six, as Derby's 4-1 win over Barnsley assured the Rams of the final Play-Off spot. The result meant the Brewers were unable to repeat their heroics of 2016/17, when they avoided relegation by a single point in what was their first season of second-tier football.
Greg Cunningham’s namesake and fellow full back Willie Cunningham also played his last game on this date, but 55 years earlier in 1963 and another first choice full back, this time during the 1930s, Frank Gallimore, played his final game for the Lilywhites on 6th May in 1939.

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