Memory match: Newcastle v PNE, January 1987

Alex Jones and Sam Allardyce challenge  in the air as Bob Atkins (left) and Nigel Jemson look on during Prestons FA Cup clash with Newcastle in 1987
Alex Jones and Sam Allardyce challenge in the air as Bob Atkins (left) and Nigel Jemson look on during Prestons FA Cup clash with Newcastle in 1987
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Preston pushed Newcastle all the way they when they met in the FA Cup at St James’ Park in January 1987.

More than 5,000 PNE fans made the trip to Tyneside for the clash, one which pitched Fourth Division North End against top-flight United.

For an hour of the game, the visitors were more than a match for the Magpies and the gap in divisions made no difference.

In fact they had the best chance of the first half when Gary Brazil forced a superb save out of Martin Thomas.

A goalkeeping error from Alan Kelly – 18 at the time and playing instead of the injured David Brown – handed the home side a 61st-minute lead.

Paul Goddard, who was the Magpies’ £415,000 record signing, doubled the lead 14 minutes from time.

PNE had reached the fourth round after beating Bury, Chorley and 
Middlesbrough.

The 1-0 third round win at Middlesbrough had seen them master a frozen pitch at Ayresome Park to cause an upset – Boro having been top of the Third Division.

Conditions were similar at St James’ Park, an overnight frost leaving the pitch hard underfoot.

For Preston manager John McGrath, this was a trip back to the club he had served for seven seasons as a hard-as-nails centre-half.

He got a superb welcome from the home crowd, as did Tom Finney who conducted the half-time draw on the pitch.

McGrath surprisingly chose teenager Nigel Jemson in PNE’s attack in preference to top scorer John Thomas.

He had done the same the week before in a 3-0 win over Lincoln, Thomas having to make do with a seat on the bench.

In the 13th minute, good link-up play involving Ronnie Hildersley and Gary Swann played in Brazil.

The striker drilled a low shot goalwards, one which keeper Thomas got down to and turned round the post.

Ex-PNE right-back John Anderson had a couple of pot shots, neither of which were too much trouble for Kelly.

With the visitors well in the contest and looking good to at least bring the Magpies back to Deepdale, they fell 
behind in the 61st minute.

Kenny Wharton’s free-kick from the left was flicked on by Peter Jackson.

Kelly dived to gather it but the ball bobbled off him and fell into the path of Glenn Roeder who swept a shot into the roof of the net from close range.

Jemson was within inches of equalising soon after, the youngster latching on to a pass from Brazil and lobbing a shot just over.

Another fine save from Thomas denied North End centre-back Alex Jones who had an outstanding game.

Newcastle clinched the win in the 76th minute, Ian Stewart’s deep cross headed back into the middle by Tony Cunningham for Goddard to head home from close in.

North End responded with Swann sending a header over the bar, while at the other end, Kelly saved from Goddard.

McGrath said later: “It was not a day for the faint-hearted and we were not overawed.

“A lot of the lads had 
never experienced anything like that before.

“Tactically we got things right and we can hold our heads high.

“We were half-an-hour away from getting another shock result.”

Preston went on to clinch promotion, finishing 
runners-up to Northampton.

It happened just 12 months after they had been forced to seek re-election.