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First Team News

On This Day… 8th May

8 May 2020

It was again all about the Play-Offs on this date down the years, with North End having some important games.

The first game was the first leg in 2009, when Brian Howard's goal 21 seconds into the second half earned Sheffield United a draw in the semi-final, first-leg Championship Play-Off tie at Deepdale.
 
North End had taken a first-half lead when Sean St. Ledger latched on to a free-kick to convert from close range.  The home side almost doubled their lead but Jon Parkin headed Ross Wallace's corner against the post.
 
The Blades had several chances to equalise, but it was Howard's volley from ten yards that rescued them.
 
The visitors started brightly with Jamie Ward going close in the fourth minute. Ward received the ball with his back to goal and turned his marker superbly before firing a low drive against the outstretched legs of keeper Andy Lonergan.
Despite that early pressure from the Blades it was PNE who opened the scoring with centre back St. Ledger breaking the deadlock after 20 minutes. He latched on to a floated free-kick that was headed on into his path and the defender coolly side-footed past Paddy Kenny from close range.
United appealed for offside, but replays appeared to show that St. Ledger was onside as he received the ball courtesy of a flick-on from United's Nick Montgomery.
 
Soon after, Greg Halford went close for United with a half volley, while Stephen Quinn forced a fine near-post save from Lonergan.
 
Just after the half-hour Parkin should have put PNE further ahead, but the big centre forward headed Wallace's corner against the upright from close range.  It was a glorious chance and Sheffield United almost made North End pay when Ward's goal-bound shot was deflected over by St. Ledger just before the break.
 
Only seconds into the second half the visitors pulled level as Howard volleyed home after PNE had failed to deal with Kenny's initial long ball. United continued to press and Craig Beattie should have then given the Blades the lead, but the second half substitute fired over from close range.
 
Late on Howard forced a fine save off Lonergan, but in injury time it looked as if the visitors would return to Bramall Lane on Monday with a lead. Beattie found himself with just Lonergan to beat, but from a tight angle he fired against the legs of the PNE keeper.
 
Then then Lilywhites manager Alan Irvine said post-match: “There were times when we played well so that makes me positive. We are still in contention and I said that was the most important thing ahead of the game.
“We know it will be a difficult game at Bramall Lane, but we've played difficult games all season and still won. We hoped to test Paddy Kenny more, but once we got the goal we didn't push on from there.”
The 2005 regular season ended on this date in 2005, losing 3-1 at Derby ahead of facing The Rams in Play-Off semi-finals!
 
This day in 2006 was also the day we lost the second leg of Play-Offs to Leeds United in the ‘Battle of Deepdale’. Brett Ormerod suffering multiple ankle fractures early in match and two Leeds players being sent off in what proved to be Billy Davies’ last game in charge.

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