Memory match: Barnsley 0, PNE 4

Jon Macken (hidden) scores Preston's opener at Barnsley in April 2001 as Ryan Kidd and Colin Murdock look on
Jon Macken (hidden) scores Preston's opener at Barnsley in April 2001 as Ryan Kidd and Colin Murdock look on
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Preston North End’s Easter Monday trip to Barnsley in April 2001 saw them put their play-off push back on track.

They ran riot at Oakwell, goals from Jon Macken, Iain Anderson, Paul McKenna and Richard Cresswell sending 3,000 travelling supporters back over the Pennines in jubilant mood.

North End had gone four games without a win prior to facing the Tykes, leading to one or two doubts about whether they would make the top six.

But this four-goal show strengthened their grip on sixth place and results elsewhere presented them with the chance to climb higher – something they did over the following weeks.

PNE boss David Moyes had named an unchanged side for their second game in three days – they had drawn 1-1 with Nottingham Forest on the Saturday. They went ahead in the 14th minute, Macken bundling the ball over the line from close range following a goalmouth scramble.

Tykes keeper Kevin Miller scooped it back into play but referee John Brandwood was well positioned to award a goal. It was Macken’s 18th of the season in his 150th league appearance and ended a six-week barren run for the former Manchester United front man.

Before and after that goal, North End goalkeeper David Lucas was in great form.

He saved superbly from Carl Barraclough six minutes in – the first of three fine stops.

The Lilywhites – decked out in their dark blue away strip – doubled the lead seven minutes before half-time.

Macken sent over a cross which Scottish winger Anderson swept into the net with a clinical finish.

The points were effectively sealed in the 57th minute, Anderson’s pass finding Macken with his back to goal in the box.

Macken laid it off into the path of McKenna, the midfielder drilling home a low shot past Miller.

Barnsley shouted for a penalty when Neil Shipperly went down under a challenge from Rob Edwards but referee Brandwood rejected the appeal.

Cresswell came off the bench to replace David Healy and the substitute scored North End’s fourth goal with 70 minutes played.

He met Anderson’s cross to power home a header from six yards.

Preston were to follow up this victory with wins over Watford (3-2) and Crewe (3-1)which guaranteed their 
play-off slot.

They leapfrogged Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion to finish in fourth place.

Reflecting on the Oakwell success, Moyes said: “We’ve got to be very happy to come away from home and win 4-0, especially to Barnsley who are probably the form team in the division since Nigel Spackman took over.

“The win was needed and the goals were a big plus. We finished them well.

“Maybe in recent weeks we haven’t been taking those opportunities, so it was good to see them go in.

“We know now that if we win all our games it doesn’t matter what the others do behind us.

“We’re in a great position and will be doing all we can to stay there.”