Preston North End point-saver Bailey Wright admitted the atmosphere generated at Deepdale for Sir Tom Finney’s 90th birthday celebrations gave him goosebumps.
The Australian teenager headed Preston’s 90th-minute equaliser in their 1-1 draw against MK Dons – the game coming 48 hours after Sir Tom’s landmark birthday.
It was his first senior goal, 19-year-old Wright getting on the end of a Danny Mayor free-kick to steer home a header.
Darren Potter had given MK Dons a first-half lead, one which North End steadily chipped away at and eventually got the late leveller.
The draw saw them climb a place to 16th and edge six points clear of the relegation zone going into this afternoon’s away game at Stevenage (3pm).
Wright said: “The atmosphere was brilliant – just going out for the warm-up I couldn’t believe how many people were in the ground so early.
“There was a great buzz about the place and coming out at the start I had goosebumps because of it.
“Personally, I’ve never known anything like that, and I want to play in front of big crowds in big games which are important for the club.
“This was a big game and a big day for Preston with it being just after Sir Tom Finney’s birthday.
“Before the game, my dad texted me from Melbourne and told me to go and score the winner in the 89th minute, do it for all of them back in Australia.
“It wasn’t quite the winner and it came in the 90th minute, but I’ll happily take the equaliser.”
Wright hasn’t been known for his goalscoring while coming through the youth and reserve ranks at Preston.
And getting on the scoresheet more often is an aspect of his game which the defender would like to improve on.
Said Wright: “It was a great ball from Danny Mayor and he’s capable of doing that – he showed his quality throughout the game.
“I headed it from somewhere in front of the penalty spot although I didn’t know that much about it.
“As I got up from the ground I looked up and the ball was in the back of the net.
“What might have helped us is Thorsten Stuckmann going up into the box for the corner.
“Stucki was by far the biggest player on the pitch and it would have been in their minds that someone as big as that was up there.
“Our performance merited us getting something from the game. We created chances, passed the ball well, and considering MK Dons are a top-five side, I thought we deserved to win the game.
“Okay, we didn’t get the three points, but there are a lot of positives to take from it and take into today’s game at Stevenage.”
After five games at left-back, Wright was switched to his more accustomed centre-half slot on Saturday.
He’s more comfortable in the middle but is happy to play in a wider role if it means more first-team opportunities.
Wright added: “Centre-half is my natural position, I’ve played there for years and come through the youth team in that position.
“But left-back is a position I want to learn about.
“If that is a position where I can get a lot of first-team football, I want to learn the best I can about it.”