PNE target a rare opening-day victory

Preston North End go to Reading on Saturday looking for their first opening-day victory in the league for eight years.

Tuesday, 2nd August 2016, 11:11 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2016, 1:14 pm
PNE celebrate Simon Whaley's goal at Ipswich in 2008

The last time they opened up a campaign with a league win was against Ipswich Town at Portman Roadon August 9, 2008, goals from Paul McKenna and Simon Whaley giving PNE a 2-1 success.

For the last seven seasons, North End have kicked-off at Deepdale and not taken advantage of home comforts - drawing five and losing twice.

So can the away trip to the Madejski Stadium bring them a change of opening-day fortune?

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Simon Whaley scores PNE's winner at Ipswich

In the early 1980s, Preston had winning starts three seasons running.

In August 1982, a Steve Elliott hat-trick gave the Lilywhites a 3-2 victory over Millwall.

A year later, Graham Houston’s goal saw North End beat Harry Redknapp’s Bournemouth at Dean Court.

Then in August 1984, a 2-0 win over Doncaster got the 84/85 campaign off to a good start – Houston and Paul Wilkins on target.

Jon Macken pulls the trigger for PNE's winner at Grimsby in 2000

It was 14 years before North End would enjoy an opening-day victory again.

They broke that dismal run with a 3-0 win over York City at Deepdale, Michael Appleton, Mark Rankine and Kurt Nogan finding the net.

The following season, a Jon Macken goal gave David Moyes’ men a 1-0 win over Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park – signalling the start of their Second Division title-winning campaign.

North End made it three winning starts on the bounce when they earned a 2-1 victory at Grimsby in August 2000, Appleton and Macken scoring.

Kurt Nogan celebrates scoring PNE's third goal against York in August 1998

Watford were beaten home and away by PNE in the first fixtures of the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons respectively.

Richard Cresswell and David Healy scored in a 2-1 win at Deepdale in 2004, then David Nugent and Dickson Etuhu were on target 12 months later at Vicarage Road.

The next opening-day win came at Ipswich.

At the start of the 2012/13 campaign, the League Cup was played before the opening game of the league season – the London Olympics causing the delayed start.

Simon Whaley scores PNE's winner at Ipswich

North End beat Huddersfield – managed by Simon Grayson – 2-0 in the cup at Deepdale but were held to a 0-0 draw by Colchester when league action got underway.

Jon Macken pulls the trigger for PNE's winner at Grimsby in 2000
Kurt Nogan celebrates scoring PNE's third goal against York in August 1998