Memory Match: Preston North End hit Charlton for six on a night when Eric Potts shone

Preston North End hit Charlton Athletic for six when they met at Deepdale in December 1978.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 16th January 2020, 11:45 am
Eric Potts was Preston's star performer in the 6-1 win over Charlton in December 1978
Eric Potts was Preston's star performer in the 6-1 win over Charlton in December 1978

At the heart of the victory was a superb display from Eric Potts, the winger leading the visitors a merry dance.

Potts scored twice on the night, as did Alex Bruce, with Gordon Coleman and Mick Robinson also on target.

It was a second win on the bounce for PNE and was part of a huge improvement in form.

Preston centre-half Mick Baxter challenges in the air with the Charlton keeper

From the end of August through to the beginning of November, Nobby Stiles’ men had gone 12 matches without a victory.

But they had started to find their feet in the Second Division in the previous few games and fortunes were looking up by the time Charlton arrived in town for a Tuesday night clash.

North End simply had too much for them, scoring early on to settle themselves down.

They then found the net five times in the second half to give a 10,385 crowd a treat.

Alex Bruce has an effort at goal in Preston's win against Charlton

Stiles had named an unchanged side for the game on the back of a 2-1 win at Luton four days earlier.

They went ahead in the third minute, Bruce collecting a pass on the edge of the box and getting a shot away which beat keeper Jeff Wood but was cleared off the line by a defender.

Coleman was following up and the midfielder drove the rebound into the net.

Soon after, a shot from PNE left-back Danny Cameron bounced off the bar.

Eric Potts and Alex Bruce celebrate during PNE's 6-1 win over Charlton at Deepdale

North End had to wait until the 53rd minute for their second goal and that sparked a second-half avalanche.

Bruce was the creator, setting up Potts to find the net with a shot from inside the box.

Potts had been a £75,000 signing from Brighton earlier in the season, brought in to boost the supply line to the Preston strikers.

This was a night when the Deepdale faithful certainly saw the best of him.

Eric Potts on the attack for PNE

Bruce scored PNE’s third goal with a stunning volley which dipped into the net.

It was bettered though, by a superb solo effort from Potts in the 75th minute.

He collected possession just over the halfway line and set off on a jinking run which took him through the Charlton’s rearguard.

As Potts reached the edge of the box, he slotted a fine finish into the net via the inside of the far post.

Sniffing a hat-trick, Potts ended up creating North End’s fifth goal of the night for Bruce.

Another jinking run when the Charlton defence could not handle him, ended with his shot being parried by keeper Wood – Bruce showing fine instincts to follow up and sweep home the rebound.

Potts was the architect behind the six goal too.

He sprang the offside trap and moved through the gears down the wing, his cross finding Robinson in the box.

Robinson made no mistake with the goal, slamming a shot past Wood.

A Charlton consolation was a tiny blot on a night when the Lilywhites – and Potts in particular – hit the highest of notes.