Preston North End retro: A memorable Deepdale debut for David Reeves against Shrewsbury Town in 1996

David Reeves made a big impact on his Preston North End home debut in October 1996.

Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 3:00 pm

The striker was signed from Carlisle United at a time when PNE were struggling to adapt to life in the Second Division after promotion.

Reeves’ first two North End games came on the road and both had ended in 1-0 defeats – at Stockport and Walsall.

By the time they came to play Shrewsbury at Deepdale on October 19, Gary Peters’ outfit had lost four matches in a row and were in the bottom three.

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David Reeves heads home on his Preston North End home debut against Shrewsbury in October 1996

Reeves laid on PNE’s first goal and scored the second in a 2-1 win, one which set them on their way to a strong run of form – they lost only one of their next nine matches.

The arrival of Reeves saw the exit of Andy Saville from Preston, sold to Wigan in a £125,000 deal.

Saville had been PNE’s top scorer with 30 goals the season before as they romped to the Third Division title in style.

Three weeks earlier Saville had got himself off the mark in the higher division but sentiment was to play no part when PNE chose to sell him.

Shrewsbury's Kevin Seabury turns the ball into his own net under pressure from PNE striker Gary Bennett

Against Shrewsbury, Reeves was partnered up front with Gary Bennett who was just back in action after recovering from a broken shin.

The first half of this game was pretty forgettable, with the visitors also bang out of form having lost four matches on the spin.

North End’s only chance of note came from Michael Brown’s cross which spun off the heel of Shrewsbury defender Steve Anthrobus and flashed just wide of the target.

At the other end, PNE old boy Ian Stevens tried his luck with an overhead kick which keeper Bobby Mimms plucked out of the air.

Kevin Kilbane in action for PNE against Shrewsbury at Deepdale

The Lilywhites took the lead two minutes into the second hand, getting a helping hand with it.

Reeves got possession on the right-wing, evaded a lunge from Anthrobus and cut the ball back into the middle in the direction of Bennett.

In trying to stop it reaching Bennett, Shrews defender Kevin Seabury succeeded only in putting through his own goal.

The public address announcer gave the goal to Bennett but it officially went down as an own goal.

PNE's Simon Davey (No.12) steps in to calm things after Michael Holt (No.14) gets involved with Shrewsbury players

Bennett should have found the net in the 53rd minute when running clear on to a header from Dean Barrick. With just the keeper to beat, Bennett put his shot wide of the target.

Reeves doubled the lead in the 74th minute, a foul on Kevin Kilbane by Seabury seeing Preston awarded a free-kick on the left.

Kilbane curled it into the middle and Reeves climbed to send a downward header into the net off the inside of the far post.

Stevens halved the deficit two minutes later, turning home a low cross from Paul Evans.

But North End held on for a welcome three points.

PNE: Mimms, Gage, Wilcox, Kidd, Barrick, Brown (Davey), Rankine, Bryson, Kilbane, Bennett (Holt), Reeves. Sub (not used): Squires.

Attendance: 8,333