Memory match: PNE v Newcastle
Preston's tale of woe against Newcastle United in midweek was a familiar one when it comes to games against the Magpies.
The Lilywhites’ 6-0 defeat at St James’ Park was their sixth on the spin at the hands of the Tyneside outfit.
That is a record which stretches back 36 years to October 1980.
North End’s last win over Newcastle came on August 21, 1979 at Deepdale.
An Eric Potts penalty gave them a 1-0 victory in what was the second game of the 1979/80 campaign.
Nobby Stiles’ men had gone into the midweek clash in good heart following a 3-0 opening-day win against Charlton at The Valley.
They never quite reached the heights of that victory during the Newcastle game but nevertheless, did enough to secure the points.
North End struggled to make many inroads into the visitors’ box in the first half.
But a substitution in the second half livened them up and gave them more purpose.
Gordon Coleman came off the bench to replace Ricky Thomson – that still the days of one substitute.
Coleman’s arrival released Potts into a freer role and the move paid dividends in the 70th minute.
It was Coleman who was fouled in the box by Magpies defender Jim Pearson, the referee pointing to the spot.
By all accounts it was clumsy rather than cynical, with Pearson getting booked for dissent.
Later, Newcastle manager Bill McGarry refused to talk about the referee and penalty when meeting the press.
Potts stepped up to tuck the penalty away, North End holding onto the lead it gave them in the last 20 minutes.
After the game, Preston boss Stiles admitted his side had not been at their best but praised their work-rate.
He said: “We got a good result against Charlton last Saturday and played really well there, but you can’t just go out and expect things to happen for you again.
“We didn’t played well against Newcastle and had to work really hard for a result.”
After two wins from two, North End drew at Swansea then suffered three defeats on the spin – twice against Birmingham in the League Cup and a 1-0 loss at Fulham.
That season, Stiles’ men were to finish 10th in the old Second Division, with the Lilywhites drawing 19 of their 42 games.
The return fixture with Newcastle at St James’ Park two months later, finished in a goalless draw.
Since then, it has been a slippery slope of results in clashes with the Toon.
In the 1980/81 campaign, Preston were beaten 3-2 at Deepdale and lost 2-0 in the North East.
When the sides met in the FA Cup in January 1987, more than 5,000 PNE supporters made the trip to St James’.
That game came during the 1986/87 Fourth Division promotion season.
North End went down ton a 2-0 defeat, current PNE goalkeeper coach Alan Kelly – then aged 18 – between the posts that day.
It was not until November 2009 that the two clubs met again, following Newcastle’s drop to the Championship.
A televised Monday night game at Deepdale saw Kevin Nolan grab a 1-0 win for the visitors.
Later in the season, North End were beaten 3-0 in the away fixture; that was the last of eight games which striker Danny Welbeck played during his loan spell from Manchester United.
It must be hoped that North End can halt the losing run against the Magpies this weekend in front of a good-sized crowd.
Saturday’s game will be the 81st meeting between Preston and Newcastle.
Preston have won 32 of those games and United 36, with 12 ending in draws.