Lawro tops on a night of PNE fun

The Simon Grayson XI
The Simon Grayson XI
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Everyone was a winner as Preston North End supporters, former players, rock stars and television presenters took to the Deepdale turf on Wednesday night.

Prostate Cancer UK will be receiving a cheque for the sum of around £5,000 from this charity game.

The PNE fans' team before the match at Deepdale

The PNE fans' team before the match at Deepdale

Thirteen PNE fans got the chance to grace the pitch after bidding at auction to form the supporters’ team.

Facing them was a side put together by North End boss Simon Grayson, a good number of who had worn the Preston shirt in the past.

They might be a bit longer in the tooth and have gone up a kit size or two but believe you me, they can still play.

Grayson’s XI ran out 8-1 winners, seven of those goals scored in the first half.

Credit to the fans side, they kept going and ‘drew’ the second half – aided by the fact all 13 of them played for the last half hour!

The preparation of three of Grayson’s side for this game had touched on the gruelling.

Four days before, Kevin Kilbane had completed the London Marathon in 3.38.

Had his hamstring not gone in the second half, he still looked to have had the lungs to have gone the distance.

Paul McKenna and Jon Macken had played in Bamber Bridge’s play-off semi-final win over Northwich the night before, a game which had gone to extra-time.

McKenna was the class act in this one, pulling the strings in midfield and twice putting his name on the scoresheet.

Mark Lawrenson, not far short of his 58th birthday, tucked away a penalty and played most of the first half.

His replacement was Alarm singer Mike Peters – Welsh rocker taking over from former European Cup winner had a touch of Viz’s ‘Billy the Fish’ about it.

Grayson, skipper of his side, lead by example and gave them a third-minute lead with a wonderful solo goal.

Former Hull striker Dean Windass was then flattened in the box, Lawrenson sticking the penalty away off the post.

Windass headed the third goal, meeting a cross from Sky Sports’ John ‘Fenners’ Fendley who had a fine game at right-back.

Barry Nicholson scored a fourth, McKenna netting five and six either side of Ally MacDonald having a penalty saved at the other end by David Lucas.

On the stroke of half-time, Macken produced a confident finish to make it 7-0.

The deficit was reduced early in the second half by Danny Garratt’s free-kick which Lucas couldn’t keep out.

Up front for Grayson’s men, PNE coach John Dreyer was showing a surprisingly good turn of pace.

He silenced the hecklers from the bench – notably Grayson and Alan Kelly – by scoring the eighth goal.

Reflecting on his goal and the evening as a whole, Grayson said: “I only scored 10 or 12 goals in my whole career so I’m not sure how I managed to get that one!

“I’m sure it was a great experience for the lads who paid to play.

“The contribution of the ex-pros made it a really enjoyable night.

“A lot of people gave up their time to come and steward the game and referee it.

“The players who bid at auction raised almost £5,000 which is a fantastic effort.

“I’m sure they will look back and remember it for a long time.”