Memory match: PNE v Rochdale

Mike Conroy scored PNE's third goal in their 3-0 win over Rochdale in December 1994
Mike Conroy scored PNE's third goal in their 3-0 win over Rochdale in December 1994
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Preston North End’s last victory over Rochdale at Deepdale came on Boxing Day 1994, a downpour accompanying the clash.

The weather was a real test for the Deepdale turf, which was in its first few months of use after the plastic pitch had been rolled up.

Conditions got more tricky as the contest went on but North End effectively had the points in the bag by half-time thanks to a three-goal burst.

Allan Smart, Ryan Kidd and Mike Conroy netted in a 32-minute spell, Dale unable to get on the scoresheet.

The Lilywhites had been under the stewardship of Gary Peters for three weeks following the sacking of John Beck, this the third league win on the bounce since he stepped up from being Beck’s No.2.

They came into the game on the back of victories over Hereford and Barnet, Peters showing he had settled well into the job.

A crowd of more than 10,000 braved the elements and the home fans had plenty to cheer in the first half.

They should have taken the lead earlier than they did, Kevin Magee squandering a good chance after a mistake from visiting goalkeeper Ian Gray.

The lead came their way in the 10th minute, striker Smart having forced a corner down the left.

Paul Raynor delivered the flag-kick to the near post where Smart got ahead of his marker to prod the ball into the net.

North End doubled their advantage in the 28th minute, another Raynor corner playing its part.

This time, the winger played it deep to the back stick where Kidd and David Moyes rose together, with Kidd getting his head to the ball to power it into the roof of the net from six yards.

Three minutes before the interval it was game over as Preston made it 3-0.

Conroy took a quick free-kick in the Rochdale half to Smart, who slipped a pass through the defence for Conroy to chase.

The Scotsman raced clear and tucked a low shot past keeper Gray as he advanced off his line.

It had not been exclusively one-way traffic in the first half, a shot from John Bowden hitting the side netting at the other end of the pitch.

Jason Pearce and Dave Thompson also tried their luck but saw shots go the wrong side of the woodwork.

Perhaps the biggest fear in the second half was provided by the weather rather than Rochdale’s strikers.

The pitch got wetter and all eyes were on referee George Cain as an abandonment became a possibility.

But the Bootle official was happy with the way the surface was handling the rain and the game continued.

Right-back Andy Fensome almost added a fourth goal with a volley which flew inches wide.

Conroy put a header over the bar as he went in search of a second goal of the day.

Rochdale went close to a consolation goal, Mark Stuart’s shot superbly saved one-handed by PNE keeper Barry Richardson.

Substitute Graham Lancashire, on for Smart, almost scored with his first touch and then near the end was denied by a good save from Gray with his legs.