PNE v Wolves memory match

Frank Worthington scores for PNE against Wolves iin February 1987
Frank Worthington scores for PNE against Wolves iin February 1987
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Ask any Preston fan of the time for their best moments of the 1986/87 promotion season and Frank Worthington’s superb goal in a 2-2 draw against Wolves would be high on the list.

Time momentarily stood still at Deepdale as a chip from the veteran striker arched over visiting goalkeeper Mark Kendall and dropped with inch-perfect precision under the bar at the Spion Kop end.

Worthington had joined North End a couple of weeks before this clash in late February 1987.

He was brought in to add experience to the PNE squad, and help them negotiate the last three months of what proved to be a successful promotion campaign.

In six starts and four sub appearances, Worthington supplied three goals – this one the pick of the bunch.

Worthington had scored in a 3-2 win at Hereford four days earlier and spirits were high at North End.

The visit of Wolves attracted a crowd of 12,592, the biggest at Deepdale in the league for a long while.

They got value for money that afternoon, not least with Worthington’s goal early in the second half.

He played up front with Brazil, top scorer John Thomas missing from the squad that day.

A frantic opening on the plastic pitch saw Gary Swann test keeper Kendall with an early shot.

Alan Kelly – then a fresh faced teenager – made saves at the other end from Floyd Streete and Matt Forman.

Kelly then cut out a ball across the face of the six-yard box from Andy Mutch before it could reach Steve Bull.

A combination of Kelly and Alex Jones kept the scoreline goalless, Kelly parrying a shot from Bull and Jones clearing Mutch’s follow-up off the line.

North End went in front after 31 minutes, the first of three goals scored in the space of five minutes.

Brazil turned Steve Stoutt inside out on PNE’s right, his cross evading the visitors’ defence and finding Swann, who steered a header beyond Kendall’s reach.

A Wolves equaliser arrived inside four minutes, Mickey Holmes’ pass rolling into the path of Stoutt, who let fly with a shot from 20 yards into the top corner of Kelly’s net.

The visitors from Molineux then took the lead just a minute later, Holmes finding space to slot a low shot from inside the box beyond Kelly.

Bull almost scored a third goal before the interval, knocking the ball past Bob Atkins before firing a shot into the side netting.

Preston rode more Wolves pressure after half-time, then came the moment of magic from Worthington.

The ball reached his feet just inside the box and after a quick glance up in which he saw Kendall slightly off his line, Worthington lifted the most delicious chip over him into the top corner.

Mutch and Bull had chances later on for Wolves but North End rode out late pressure to earn a point on a day when they were somewhat off the pace.

However, Worthington was the name on everyone’s lips as they filed out of the ground after the 2-2 draw.

PNE went on to be promoted in second place, while Wolves lost in the 
play-offs to Aldershot.