PNE Retro November, 26, 1983: PNE 2 Exeter City 1

PNE vs Exeter City 26th November 1983
PNE vs Exeter City 26th November 1983
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One ‘Kel of a strike seals PNE win.

A John Kelly wonder strike fired Preston North End to a 2-1 victory over 10-man Exeter City at Deepdale.

PNE vs Exeter City 26th November 1983

PNE vs Exeter City 26th November 1983

Kelly doubled his tally in the 85th minute and secured victory after Steve Neville had cancelled out his first goal.

PNE opened the scoring as Kelly headed North End ahead after latching on to an Andy McAteer cross in the 27th minute.

But minutes later Neville grabbed an equaliser as he smashed the ball past PNE shot-stopper Peter Litchfield.

Exeter goalkeeper Len Bond thwarted Peter Houghton and Willie Naughton as North End upped the ante.

Kelly was denied another goal as Bond blocked his effort.

Naughton had a penalty appeal waved away by Crewe referee John Lovvat and Houghton’s fizzing strike flew inches over the bar as North End attempted to regain their lead before half-time.

Exeter were reduced to 10-men as Hugh Atkinson was sent off for a foul on Jon Clark.

But North End director Duncan Catterall was forced to pay out an extra £5 to the ‘child in need’ appeal when Kelly rippled the back of the net.

Kelly raced towards goal after beating Graeme Kirkup and cutting in on the left as he added his sixth league goal of the season in style, thundering the ball past the helpless Bond in the 85th minute.

He went on to score 13 goals in the 1983-84 season as North End finished the term 16th in the Third Division table.

The Lilywhites avoided relegation but finished in the bottom half of the pack but after the 2-1 victory North End had 16 points from 17 games and were two points better off than the same stage the season before.

And in the post-match interview two goal hero Kelly warned PNE fans kit was going to be a tough battle to stay up.

He said: “It is going to be hard for us this season.

“But we will be all right if we continue to win our home games and pick up some good results. I hope the crowd stays behind us at Deepdale because the fans have been great so far and we need them to keep on shouting.”