Memory match: PNE v Scunthorpe

Keith Treacy scoring the winner against Scunthorpe at Deepdale in the 2009/10 season

Keith Treacy scoring the winner against Scunthorpe at Deepdale in the 2009/10 season

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Preston North End eased their relegation worries with a dramatic victory over Scunthorpe United at Deepdale in April 2010.

Late goals from Billy Jones and Keith Treacy snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for PNE after the visitors had led 2-1.

The Championship encounter on Saturday, April 10, towards the end of the 2009/10 season, had major implications for both teams.

An away victory would have seen the Iron go level on points with Darren Ferguson’s men with a game in hand.

Instead, the win for North End moved them to 14th spot in the table – six points ahead of Scunthorpe and, more importantly, eight points clear of the drop zone with only three games left to play.

In the end, both teams secured their status in the second tier of English football at the end of the season with relative ease, although North End would only pick up a single point from their remaining matches.

Nigel Adkins’ men earned five points from their final four games to finish a point and three places behind North End in 20th position – five points above the bottom three.

It was the first time any Scunthorpe side had retained their status in the second tier since 1963.

However, there was a palpable tension in the air at Deepdale as both teams battled for much-needed survival points.

Ferguson – son of legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex – had only recently been installed as manager after the sacking of Alan Irvine in December.

However, he had found the going tough as he fought to keep the team’s head above water.

Both goalkeepers – Preston’s Andy Lonergan and Joe Murphy of United –made several saves in a lively opening to the match.

But it was Jon Parkin who eased PNE’s nerves when he opened the scoring in 28th minute, converting from six yards after a poor Cliff Byrne clearance fell kindly to him.

It was a lead the home side held on to until the 64th minute. Central defender Sean St Ledger’s poor backpass was latched on to by Garry Thompson and he made no mistake to level the scores.

Thompson then grabbed his – and Scunthorpe’s – second goal when he accepted a pass from Grant McCann to give Lonergan no chance.

With defeat looming, Jones handed PNE a lifeline with four minutes of normal time remaining with a fine header.

It was left to Treacy to curl home the winning goal in the third minute of stoppage time.

Afterwards a relieved Ferguson said: “Credit to my players – we have somehow got a win out of it.

“It was a fantastic goal to win the game and keep us in the Championship for next season.

“Now I can really concentrate on next season. We have got three games left, now we know we are safe, we want to finish as high as we can.

“I saw a lot of good things and a lot that we can take into next season. The three months I have been here have been a real learning curve.

“The criteria was to stay in the league and we have managed to do that.”