One of the most baffling substitutions seen at Deepdale in many a year – accompanied by a rambling explanation – came in Preston’s victory over Swindon in September 2012.
While it is not unknown for goalkeepers to be substituted when injured, for one to be hauled off for tactical reasons with just 20 minutes played, is bizarre to say the least.
It was Swindon boss Paolo Di Canio who gave the shepherd’s crook to Wes Foderingham after seeing his side go 2-0 behind to PNE.
He replaced him with rookie Leigh Bidwell and not surprisingly, Foderingham was not a happy bunny as he headed straight for the tunnel, kicking a water bottle for good measure.
Foderingham, for the record, had remained the Wiltshire club’s first-choice ever since.
This game was played on a Sunday to avoid clashing with the Guild celebrations and Preston were very much at their Sunday best.
They were ahead with a little more than four minutes played, Foderingham’s kicked clearance from a back pass charged down by Stuart Beavon who was making his debut after signing from Wycombe.
The ball bounced against Beavon and into the path of Akpo Sodje, who drove home a shot from 12 yards.
North End were to double their lead soon after, Scott Laird’s low ball from the left turned in from close range by Nicky Wroe.
Di Canio had soon seen enough, swapping his keepers to the astonishment of the 10,372 crowd.
When he was later asked to explain the change, the Italian said: “Because he was one of the worst players I have ever seen in a football match. He is a player like the others.
‘Why can’t we change the goalkeeper? Is the goalkeeper is an element who plays on with another team because he has a different colour on his shirt?
“Today what he did, it’s not only the mistake that can happen to everyone.
“The arrogance later, when he started moaning to the others, that was the worst thing for me because it let me realise that a player doesn’t recognise his mistakes that was clear miles away, that was a rubbish mistake.”
Substitute keeper Bidwell found himself fishing the ball out of the net three minutes before half-time.
Laird’s deep cross was met by Bailey Wright beyond the back post, his header back down into the six-yard box turned home by Beavon.
Swindon had their best spell of the game in the early stages of the second half.
Thorsten Stuckmann saved well from Raffaele De Vita, then a cross from John Bostock clipped a Preston boot and hit the top of the bar.
The visitors pulled a goal back in the 58th minute, De Vitta getting clear down the left-hand side of the box to steer a shot past Stuckmann.
Within 10 minutes though, North End had restored their three-goal cushion.
A Laird corner from the left was cleared out of the box as far as John Welsh , the midfielder driving a fine first-time shot into the net.
The win was PNE’s first in the league that season, although they had already recorded two League Cup victories.