Memory match: PNE v Orient

Oshor Williams lifts Preston's winning goal over Orient goalkeeper Peter Wells at Deepdale in December 1986

Oshor Williams lifts Preston's winning goal over Orient goalkeeper Peter Wells at Deepdale in December 1986

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Many Preston supporters from the 1980s will remember the day promotion was clinched from the Fourth Division at Orient in 1987.

They won 2-1 at Brisbane Road to go up, less than 12 months after being forced to apply for re-election.

Victory completed a double over the O’s, North 
End having beaten them 1-0 on the Deepdale plastic just before Christmas.

They were in the early stages of a 16-game unbeaten run in the league when they just about did enough to see off the East London outfit.

Throw in FA Cup wins over Chorley and Middlesbrough, it was a real purple patch for John McGrath’s men.

Ahead of Orient’s visit, McGrath had completed the signings of defenders David Miller and Paul Williams.

Neither featured in the game, Miller eventually going on to become a regular over the next couple of seasons but Williams featured just a couple of times.

It was another Williams who was the match winner in this game, midfielder Oshor Williams netting the only goal in the 10th minute.

With Christmas coming up, it was appropriate that the goal was gift-wrapped for Preston by Orient defender Steve Castle.

He decided to attempt to lob the ball back to his keeper Peter Wells from 40 yards out.

The backpass fell woefully short, allowing Williams to nip in and cushion a cool, volleyed finish over Wells who had been left in no-man’s-land by Castle’s gaff.

It was Williams’ 12th goal of the campaign.

North End sought to add to their lead, Gary Swann curling a shot over the bar and Gary Brazil forcing a good save out of Wells after finding room in the box.

Orient, who had not won away all season, stepped up in the second half and made a fight of it.

An effort from Lee Harvey beat PNE keeper David Brown but went just over the bar.

At the other end, Swann went down in the box but the referee waved away his loud shout for a penalty.

Preston’s defence held firm under some late pressure, Sam Allardyce, Alex Jones and Bob Atkins keeping a tight rein on the Orient attack.

Allardyce’s 12-year-old son Craig, who would later go on to be on North End’s books, was the mascot for this game.

PNE boss McGrath was pleased with the win, a result which lifted them up to fourth place in the table behind Northampton, Southend and Swansea.

He was keen to stress the importance of patience in games, expectation levels having risen among the Deepdale faithful.

Said McGrath: “We are expected to do well, which is nice because it means our standards are high.

“But that brings its own pressure and I have said many times before that patience is the key for us.

“We can’t simply resort to sending high balls down the middle – we know our strengths and have to stick with passing the ball.”

North End were to go from strength to strength over the second half of the season.

They were promoted with 90 points in second place behind champions Northampton, who had led 
the way from early season.