Memory Match: PNE v Hartlepool, February 14, 2012
Danny Mayor came off the bench to fire Preston North End to victory over Hartlepool United on February 14, 2012.
His stunning goal settled the game and delivered a first win for Graham Westley who had been appointed PNE boss a month earlier.
It was ironic that Leyland lad Mayor should be on target on Valentine’s Day of all days, there going on to be little love lost between him and Westley.
He left to join Sheffield Wednesday within a few months, not wanting to be part of Westley’s revolution.
Hartlepool were unlucky to leave empty-handed, having looked the more likely side to break the deadlock.
The Teessiders were left to rue some missed chances, not least in the dying seconds when they struck the bar.
Westley had made nine signings inside a month after getting the job, with seven of them starting the clash and two more on the bench.
Graham Cummins, Nicky Hunt and Chris Robertson came in for their debuts which had been delayed by two games being postponed.
Alex Marrow made his home debut, while Andy Procter, Jamie McAllister and Chris Holroyd made their fourth appearances for PNE.
Midfielder Procter was handed the captain’s armband.
In the early exchanges, a shot at the far post from Cummins hit a defender and looped into the gloves of Pools keeper Scott Flinders.
During a good spell of pressure from the visitors, James Brown sent a low shot from 25 yards just wide of the target after he’d stolen possession from Procter.
The same player forced a diving save out of Thorsten Stuckmann when he tried his luck with an effort with the outside of his boot.
Pools were inches away from taking a 15th minute lead, Luke James cutting inside and curling a low shot just wide of the far post.
Stuckmann came to PNE’s rescue as they remained pinned back, sticking out a foot to superbly keep out Peter Sweeney’s shot.
A long distance effort from Hunt provided some respite for the hosts, the right-back’s shot just clearing the bar.
Mayor entered the action nine minutes after half-time.
It always looked like it was going to take something out of the ordinary to break the stalemate, and that moment arrived in the 76th minute.
Mayor collected the ball on the left-wing, cut inside before unleashing a beauty of a right-foot shot which rocketed into the far top corner.
Somehow, PNE kept hold of their lead in an amazing treble chance which fell the visitors’ way in the 89th minute.
Colin Nish looked offside as he collected a ball played over the top. Stuckmann stood up tall and pushed away his shot, the rebound falling back to Nish who got away another effort which Hunt got back to scoop off the line.
This time the ball found its way to Monkhouse whose shot came back off the bar before Sweeney shot wide.
PNE: Stuckman, Hunt, Robertson, Marrow, McAllister (Murphy 67, McLaughlin 90), Procter, Barton, Holroyd, Nicholson (Mayor 54), Parry, Cummins. Subs: Brown, Arestidou.