Memory match: Bristol City v PNE

Preston's win over a Bristol City in November 2014 was to be a significant one, in terms of the team picked that day by Simon Grayson and what would be available to him in the weeks that followed.

Thursday, 15th December 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 15th December 2016, 2:00 pm
Callum Robinson is congratulated by Chris Humphrey after scoring the winner

The visit to Aston Gate was a promotion clash, with hosts City top of League One and North End making the trip to the West Country in third place.

Callum Robinson scored the contest’s only goal to give Grayson’s men the three points, a flowing move on the counter-attack cutting the home defence open.

At the time, Robinson was on loan from Aston Villa, the first of three loan spells he would have with the club.

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But three days later, he was recalled by Villa who wanted him back as cover.

Robinson had started alongside Joe Garner in PNE’s attack that day, but Garner was to depart the action at half-time with what appeared to be a routine knock to his shin.

The injury turned out to be a lot more significant, a tendon having come away from his shin bone.

It would rule him out for two-and-a-half months, and with Robinson returning to Villa Park, PNE’s first-choice front line had been wiped out in one fell swoop.

Sat on the bench that day in a Preston kit for the first time was Jermaine Beckford.

He had been signed from Bolton on loan a couple of days earlier, the intention to provide more competition for Robinson, Garner and Kevin Davies.

Beckford was an unused sub in this game but was to be such an influential figure as the season progressed and ultimately ended in glory at Wembley.

At the other end of the pitch for this clash, Grayson ditched goalkeeper Jamie Jones and recalled Thorsten Stuckmann for his first game in 18 months.

It was a sign that the North End manager had lost faith in Jones and he did not start a first-team game again.

Stuckmann kept the gloves for two months until Sam Johnstone’s arrival two months later.

North End travelled to Ashon Gate on the back of a 2-1 home defeat to Bradford the week before.

City’s top scorer Aaron Wilbraham missed a golden opportunity to put his side in front in the ninth minute.

The striker rounded Stuckmann but put the ball wide of the left-hand post with an empty goal to aim at.

City keeper Frank Fielding comfortably saved a Garner header and soon after, denied Paul Huntington.

Preston’s winner came in the 28th minute, the visitors counter-attacking after a City attack was broken up.

Chris Humphrey sped down the right-wing and put over a low cross to the far post which Robinson side-footed home from six yards.

PNE could have doubled their lead before the break when Garner pulled the ball back into Robinson’s path but the young striker put his shot straight at Fielding.

Early in the second half, Kieran Agard was denied by Huntington’s last-ditch tackle – the striker sprinted into the box and Huntington timed his tackle to perfection as he slid in and stole the ball from Agard’s feet.

City upped the tempo and nearly scored after a string of corners saw them camped in North End’s box.

Centre-half Aden Flint went close after meeting Luke Freeman’s corner but the defender’s header flew inches over the bar.

At the other end, North End substitute Davies saw a shot saved by Fielding.

City threw everything at PNE in the dying minutes, keeper Fielding joining his team-mates in the North End box for a late corner.

But Preston managed to hold on and secure three points, much to the delight of 904 travelling supporters.