Memory match: When Preston North End beat Millwall and held a title knees-up
Preston’s clash with Millwall at Deepdale in April 2000 formed only part of the day’s entertainment for a bumper 19,407 crowd.
The Lilywhites won their final home game of the season 3-2 and afterwards were presented with the Second Division title.
What a glorious campaign it was, David Moyes guiding North End to top spot and promotion in style.
They went up with 95 points, this win over the Lions taking the tally to 92 – there was time for three more at Bristol City on the last day.
Moyes’ boys had actually been crowned champions after losing at Cambridge the Monday before.
Results elsewhere sparked a promotion party and those scenes continued as Millwall came to town.
The game still had much resting on it, not just because PNE wanted to put on a show in front of the faithful. Millwall were in the race for the play-offs and still had work to do.
North End could not have asked to make a better start, 2-0 ahead inside the opening eight minutes.
Not one Millwall player had touched the ball before their hosts went ahead with 31 seconds on the clock.
David Tuttle’s push on Brett Angell won Preston a free-kick to the right of the visitors’ box.
David Eyres delivered the ball left-footed into the box, Angell stretching his neck out to try and get a touch on its way into the net.
Eyres was awarded it, with Moyes backing the winger’s claim above that of Angell.
PNE survived a penalty claim when Millwall striker Neil Harris went down in the box when sandwiched between Ryan Kidd and Rob Edwards – referee Graham Laws waving play on.
They surged further in front in the eighth minute.
Eyres played a short corner to Bjarki Gunnlaugsson and whipped the return pass into the box.
Millwall goalkeeper David Warner dropped the ball as he collided with team-mate Stuart Nethercott and that gave Michael Jackson the chance to scoop a shot into the roof of the net.
Warner later saved from Paul McKenna and Graham Alexander.
North End’s third goal came five minutes before half-time.
McKenna skipped past a sliding challenge from Robbie Ryan on the right and sent over a low cross into the box.
Angell got between two defenders to stab the ball home from four yards.
It was the striker’s seventh goal since joining PNE on loan from Stockport and he got an eighth a week later.
What an astute piece of business that proved, Angell helping get them over the line.
Three goals to the good at half-time, North End looked to be coasting to victory.
But Millwall made them fight all the way by scoring twice early in the second half.
Harris’ cross from the left was flicked on to Paul Ifill who took the ball past Edwards and fired home.
Lucas Neill further cut the deficit, meeting another cross from Harris to score.
After the final whistle, the players returned two by two to collect their title medals.
There was a huge cheer for Sir Tom Finney when he came on to the pitch to join in the celebrations – Moyes had arranged for Sir Tom to receive a medal.
Moyes said: “This isn’t my club and it isn’t Baxi’s. It is Sir Tom’s.
“And I felt it was only right that if Preston gets some success then it should be his to enjoy.”