Memory match: Preston North End win at Bristol City with clean sheet for returning keeper Thorsten Stuckmann
Preston North End’s victory at Bristol City in November 2014 stirred the pot in the League One promotion race.
Callum Robinson netted the only goal of the contest to inflict the Robins’ first home defeat for eight months.
In doing so North End squeezed the gap between themselves and table-toppers City down to two points.
This was the third of the Lilywhites’ remarkable 15-game unbeaten run against Bristol City which went from November 2013 through to January this year.
Simon Grayson had taken his PNE side to the West Country in need of a tonic in the league.
They had lost three games on the bounce in League One action, the only comfort in that run being a 3-0 FA Cup win at non-league Havant and Waterlooville.
Grayson made a big call on the selection front, dropping goalkeeper Jamie Jones and recalling Thorsten Stuckman for his first league start since April 2013.
Grayson also left new loan signing Jermaine Beckford on the bench, citing a lack of training with Preston after only signing the day before.
Even when Joe Garner went off at half-time with a knee injury which was to keep him out for more than three months, it was Kevin Davies summoned for duty.
An early chance came PNE’s way for former Robins midfielder Neil Kilkenny who was booed by the home fans throughout.
The Australian let fly with a shot from 30 yards which the home goalkeeper Frank Fielding saved comfortably.
Garner put a header too close to Fielding, while Chris Humphrey saw a cross cut out in the box before it landed at a Preston boot.
City had started well with Aaron Wilbraham getting clear of the North End back four, taking the ball wide of Stuckmann but he sliced his shot wide.
Paul Huntington saw a header from a corner punched off the line by Fielding before Robinson scored what proved to be the winner in the 28th minute.
Kilkenny set the ball rolling on the move which swept PNE up the pitch.
His pass found Garner on the right wing who in turn slipped a pass to Humphrey, who was overlapping.
Humphrey covered the ground quickly as he tore up the wing and delivered a low ball across the box which Robinson arrived to meet at the far post and steer it home.
It sent 904 Preston fans at the other end of the ground into wild celebrations.
This was an all-ticket game for the travelling faithful due to Ashton Gate being re-developed at the time – Robinson’s goal came in front of a building site.
Robinson could have got a second goal before half-time from Garner’s lay-off but put a tame shot too near Fielding.
The home side had the better of the second half as North End dropped off and defended their lead.
Aden Flint put a header wide from a corner as City pressed for an equaliser.
There was a good chance for Davies to make things a lot more comfortable for PNE but the substitute’s shot from Robinson’s low cross was gathered by the keeper.
Back at the other end, Marlon Pack curled a shot wide and for all City’s pressure, precious little tested Stuckmann.
In stoppage time, the hosts threw keeper Fielding upfield for a corner but the Lilywhites were not distracted by his presence.
The celebrations at the final whistle in the away section were lengthy, a big result recognised.