Memory match: Oldham v PNE

Chris Holroyd is congratulated by Jamie Proctor and Max Ehmer
Chris Holroyd is congratulated by Jamie Proctor and Max Ehmer
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Preston North End’s visit to Oldham in April 2012 was not the most thrilling for those inside Boundary Park.

The two stand-outs from a PNE perspective were the fact it was ‘Thorsten Stuckmann day’ and Chris Holroyd scored his one and only goal in North End colours.

This was the third to last match of a turbulent 2011/12 campaign.

It had begun in a fairly promising fashion, Preston putting together a seven-game winning run in the league as they looked to make their stay in League One a short one following relegation.

But it hit the buffers during the winter, with Phil Brown sacked and eventually replaced by Graham Westley.

This short trip to Oldham was one of 21 games overseen by Westley that season, with PNE winning only three.

The game was typical end-of-season fare, both sides securing a point which killed off any lingering fears of relegation.

North End’s supporters tried to make the best out of it by honouring their German goalkeeper.

They wore Stuckmann masks, while red, yellow and black balloons floated around in the away stand.

He had been signed 
part-way during the season and went on to win the club’s Player of the Year award.

On a difficult pitch, both sides struggled to find their feet in the first half.

The contest’s first chance fell to home striker Robbie Simpson but Stuckmann saved his shot.

Holroyd saw an effort pushed behind at the other end, with Craig Morgan putting a chance wide.

Oldham took the lead in the 69th minute after Andy Procter conceded a free-kick 25 yards out.

It was lifted into the middle by Filipe Morais, where Simpson rose above the Preston defence to steer a header past Stuckmann.

Within 10 minutes PNE were level through Holroyd.

This was the striker’s 18th game since joining form a nominal fee from Rotherham three months earlier.

Substitute Jamie Proctor’s pass was chased by Danny Mayor down the left-hand side hand of the box, Mayor lifting the ball into the middle for Holroyd to rise and nod over the line from close range.

Reflecting on his goal, Holroyd – who now plays for Macclesfield – said: “Danny put a brilliant ball across to me – it was just a case of getting myself between the posts and making contact. When the ball came over I was half expecting one of their defenders to come through the back of me.

“I just jumped high enough to make sure no one could get it and it was lovely to see the ball hit the net.

“When you are a striker going through a barren run, there can be a temptation almost not to get into a position where you might miss.”

It was a fourth game unbeaten for North End and followed up a 1-0 win over a Huddersfield side led at the time by Simon Grayson.

Stuckmann and Bailey Wright are the only survivors in the current Preston squad from that visit to Oldham.

The keeper has remained a popular figure with the PNE supporters ever since, even though first-team chances have been quite limited.