Memory match: Wycombe v PNE, 1998

Kurt Nogan runs to celebrate after scoring Preston's winner against Wycombe at Adams Park in September 1998
Kurt Nogan runs to celebrate after scoring Preston's winner against Wycombe at Adams Park in September 1998

Kurt Nogan struck Preston’s winner against Wycombe in September 1998 to help his birthday celebrations go with a bang.

The striker found the roof of the net at Adams Park on the eve of his 28th birthday.

Victory lifted PNE into second place in the Second Division table and was their fourth success of the 1998/99 season.

The catalyst for the win was the introduction of Jason Harris into the action.

On a month’s trial from Leyton Orient, the winger had been earning a reputation as a super-sub.

He had already played key roles in four previous games, scoring twice and providing two assists.

Against Wycombe, it was his run and cross which set up Nogan to score.

Not surprisingly, Harris did end up earning himself a move to Deepdale and played for the rest of the season.

He played 41 times for North End that season, with 28 of those appearances from the bench.

In July 1999, Harris was sold to Hull for £40,000.

North End had headed to Buckinghamshire for this Tuesday night game as the division’s top scorers with 15 goals.

However, they made heavy weather of this clash and had to rely on Nogan’s 75th-minute strike.

The visitors controlled the first half and were scratching their heads at the interval as they went in level pegging.

Jon Macken had the ball in the net inside the first couple of minutes but the effort was disallowed for a push on the keeper by Nogan.

A shot from Nogan flew into the side-neeting, while right-back Gary Parkinson saw two efforts from distance saved by keep Martin Taylor.

North End midfielder Mark Rankine had a shot cleared off the line by Nicky Mohan as the pressure on the home side was ramped up.

It took Wycombe until the 31st minute to test Preston keeper Teuvo Moilanen with a shot, one which went straight at him.

The second half turned very scrappy, although North End were still on top.

Dominic Ludden sliced a shot wide after being played in by a cheeky back-heel from Macken.

Then Michael Jackson connected with a corner from Paul McKenna and sent his header inches too high.

Harris was introduced from the bench in the 67th minute in place of Macken.

It was the ace up the sleeve of manager David Moyes and was to pay dividends within eight minutes.

Ludden surged forward from left-back and fed a pass to Harris.

The substitute got beyond Neil Emblem, took the ball on before rolling a low cross into the goalmouth where Nogan lifted a shot from six yards into the roof of the net.

Off went the front man to celebrate with the loyal band of Preston supporters who had made the long trip.

In the closing stages, PNE had some defending to do as Wycombe finally woke from their slumbers.

In the 81st minute, Alan Beeton’s cross found Dannie Bulham but the substitute put his header straight into the gloves of Moilanen.

The Finnish keeper then had to palm a cross from John Cornforth over the bar.

North End had a chance to add to their lead late on as Harris’ pass found fellow sub Lee Cartwright in space down the right wing.

Cartwright’s run took him to the side of the box but he put too much power on his low cross and saw it travel across goal without a white shirt able to get a touch.