Memory match: PNE v Bristol City

Lee Ashcroft scores the first goal for North End against Bristol City in May, 1998
Lee Ashcroft scores the first goal for North End against Bristol City in May, 1998
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Bristol City came hunting a league title when visiting Preston in May 1998 but left having to settle for promotion.

The final day of the 1997/98 campaign pitched North End against the Robins at Deepdale.

Already-promoted City went into the game on top of the Second Division, level on points with Watford but with a better goal difference.

Had they matched the Hornets’ result, the men from Ashton Gate would have been crowned champions.

PNE proved to be anything but accommodating party hosts, David Moyes’ men running out 2-1 winners.

All the goals came in a frantic opening 10 minutes, strikes from Lee Ashcroft and David Eyres sandwiching a Sean McCarthy equaliser.

Watford’s 2-1 victory at Fulham the same afternoon saw them jump above City to finish top of the pile.

The Lilywhites were in the opening months of Moyes’ stewardship, the Scotsman having taken over from Gary Peters in January that year.

After a wobbly start to the job in terms of results, North End finished the season well, this win taking their points tally to 23 from the final 13 matches.

Resplendent in a new home kit, which had gone on sale at midnight, the Moyes boys came out of the blocks impressively.

Just five minutes were on the clock when they took the lead, the goal scored in some style by striker Ashcroft.

Tepi Moilanen dived low to save a City free-kick, regaining his feet to launch a huge kick upfield.

Jon Macken jumped to head it on, Ashcroft letting the ball bounce once before hitting a wonderful volley from 25 yards which dipped over City goalkeeper Stuart Naylor and landed in the net.

It was scored at the Kop end of the ground which at the time was a building site following the demolition of the old terrace.

The Robins were level by the ninth minute, gifted their equaliser by a Moilanen gaffe.

Gary Owers launched a long punt forward to try and find McCarthy who was being suitably policed by Michael Jackson.

The PNE centre-back had it covered but inexplicably, Moilanen raced out of his box and attempted to head clear.

He missed it completely, giving McCarthy the simple task of rolling a shot into an unguarded net.

Within 45 seconds, Preston had wrestled the lead back.

Ashcroft fed the ball out to Simon Davey on the right, the midfielder sending over a cross which Macken reached but his attempted scissor kick sliced across the box.

It landed in the path of Eyres, who slammed home a close-range finish into the roof of the net at the back post.

That was it in terms of the scoring, although there were plenty of chances at both ends for more goals.

Naylor stuck out a leg to save from Eyres, an Ashcroft chip was a few inches too high, while Paul McKenna and Mark Rankine both went close.

City flew at PNE in the last 20 minutes in a bid to find an equaliser, Moilanen saving well from Brian Tinnion and Gregory Goodridge.

However, the home side held firm to finish on a high note, earning warm praise from Moyes.