Memory match: PNE v Barnsley, 2001

Jon Macken has a run in the build up to his goal against Barnsley
Jon Macken has a run in the build up to his goal against Barnsley
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Preston North End’s clash on a Thursday night in November 2001 saw the official opening of the Alan Kelly Town End.

It needed a late equaliser from substitute Richard Cresswell to make sure the evening did not fall flat from a Lilywhites perspective.

Before kick-off, Alan Kelly had cut the ribbon on the stand named in his honour.

The rebuilding of that end of the ground was the third stage of Deepdale’s redevelopment.

On the pitch, it was not the best of performances from North End in front of the 
ITV Digital cameras.

They fell well short of the standard of football produced just five days earlier when demolishing Stockport 6-0.

Barnsley bossed the first half, with Alex Neil slamming a shot against the post and Alex Dyer had the ball in the net only for an offside flag to see his effort chalked off.

No one could argue that they deserved their lead at the interval, the goal arriving in the 44th minute.

Ryan Kidd and Dyer went up for a high ball, which dropped to Darren Barnard who had enough time to pick his spot with a shot into the bottom corner.

That was to be Kidd’s last involvement as a player in professional football.

He suffered a recurrence of a serious neck injury and had to be substituted, the defender forced into retirement later that season.

In the second half, North End were better and they had wiped out Barnsley’s lead within nine minutes of the re-start.

Graham Alexander’s throw-in from the right found Jon Macken, who turned and curled a cross towards the far post which midfielder Mark Rankine headed home.

Skipper Sean Gregan went close soon after following a powerful run down the middle of the pitch.

Parity lasted just four minutes for Preston as Barnsley regained the lead.

David Mulligan’s cross was not cut out and slack marking allowed Neil to send a stooping header past PNE keeper David Lucas.

North End pushed for an equaliser and were very much on the front foot for the last half-hour.

But they were almost undone on the counter attack when a shot from Neil struck a post.

Cresswell’s 66th-minute introduction for David Healy was to prove key later in the game.

In the meantime, he was booked within a short time of joining the action.

With 83 minutes gone, Dyer had the ball in the net but again an offside flag rescued them.

As time ticked on, North End started to throw the kitchen sink at the Tykes.

Visiting keeper Kevin Miller saved superbly from Alexander, with Rankine’s follow-up effort kicked off the line by the covering David Mulligan.

But Preston were not to be denied and equalised for a second time in the 88th minute.

Paul McKenna rolled a quickly-taken free-kick to Alexander who floated over an inch-perfect cross which Cresswell headed into the top corner from eight yards.

It was Cresswell’s fourth goal in three games, all of them coming as a substitute. PNE boss David Moyes said: “The point was slightly undeserved but we kept our run going.

“The lads were poor and didn’t do themselves justice.”