Preston North End memory match - Deepdale derby joy for PNE against Blackburn
Preston North End's victory over Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale in December 2016 was a long time coming.
Not since August 1978 had the Lilywhites beaten Rovers in the league on home soil.
Mind you, the Lancashire rivals had only met three times in league action in the meantime – in 1981, 2001 and 2015.
Daniel Johnson struck twice and Callum Robinson netted the winner as North End collected the three points in this televised clash.
Twice Johnson gave them the lead, twice the visitors had equalised.
But when Robinson fired home in the 80th minute, there was no comeback from Rovers.
It was great entertainment and the perfect tonic for PNE after a difficult time dealing with the fallout from the red cards for team-mates Eoin Doyle and Jermaine Beckford fighting the week before.
The teatime game started at a lively pace and continued throughout in that manner.
After a spell of pressure North End took the lead in the 18th minute.
Robinson’s run took him down the left-wing, his cross finding Marnick Vermijl on the edge of the box.
Vermijl laid the ball back into the path of Johnson, the midfielder’s delightfully hit first-time shot curling past Rovers keeper Jason Steele.
Johnson celebrated by putting the football under his shirt, with him revealing later that he was going to be a dad.
It was to an eventful first half for Johnson.
Three minutes later, it was his sliding challenge on Sam Gallagher which saw Rovers awarded a penalty.
Danny Graham took the spot-kick, the striker’s effort parried by Chris Maxwell.
The PNE keeper blocked the rebound too, while a third Rovers effort to put it in was also charged down by a North End leg.
But at the fourth attempt, Graham got the ball over the line to equalise.
Simon Makienok headed over the bar for Preston and Greg Cunningham has a shot saved by Steele.
North End regained the lead with a penalty on their own in the 31st minute.
Darragh Lenihan stuck out an arm to try and prevent a cross reaching Makienok at the far post.
Makienok still got his head to the ball and forced Steele to make a good save.
However, referee Kevin Friend had spotted Lenihan’s handball and pointed to the penalty spot.
Johnson tucked it away into the bottom corner after his usual stuttering run-up.
Before half-time, Maxwell saved well from Graham.
Early in the second half, Jordan Hugill put a couple of efforts wide before Rovers started to mount pressure.
They equalised in the 70th minute, Derrick Williams feeding a pass to Graham on the left-side of the box.
Graham got a low shot away which took a touch off PNE skipper Tom Clarke and past Maxwell.
As North End pushed to regain their lead, Hugill and Alex Baptiste had efforts.
Simon Grayson’s decision to bring on Ben Pringle for Hugill proved a good one.
Pringle’s arrival from the bench saw Robinson pushed up front next to Makienok.
And within four minutes Robinson hit the winner.
Left-back Cunningham was the supplier, his strong run taking him down the wing and level with the box.
Cunningham’s low cross came to Robinson who got the ball out of his feet and tucked a shot past Steele.
It was a big win for North End and one enjoyed by their supporters.