MEMORY MATCH: Yeovil v PNE, February 2013

Preston fans unfurled a large banner at Yeovil asking for the sacking of manager Graham Westley
Preston fans unfurled a large banner at Yeovil asking for the sacking of manager Graham Westley
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Preston North End’s last visit to Yeovil Town’s Huish Park signalled the end of one of the most eventful periods in the club’s recent history.

PNE’s 3-1 defeat to the Glovers on February 12, 2013, was the final act of previous boss Graham Westley’s tenure.

The axe was wielded the following day as the current Stevenage manager was informed of his fate during a showdown meeting with club bosses at Waterloo Station, in London.

The sacking of Westley – who had been in charge of the club for just over a year – came as no surprise.

His eccentric managerial ways had always divided opinion among the Deepdale faithful but it was the results on the pitch which ultimately cost him dearly.

The defeat to Yeovil – who, incidentally, went on to achieve promotion to the Championship at the end of the season – extended a miserable run of form to just one win in 14 games.

The team was lurching towards the relegation zone and the atmosphere on the away terrace at Huish Park that evening was toxic, with fans unfurling a large banner, which read ‘Westley Out’.

LEP football reporter Dave Seddon was almost stating the obvious in the opening line of his match report when he wrote, ‘Graham Westley’s job is hanging by a thread’.

If rumour is to be believed, that thread had already been cut in the minds of the PNE hierachy prior to the Yeovil encounter, although a victory may have thrown Westley a lifeline.

After the game Westley appeared doubly determined to carry on and bristled at the media when asked if he would walk away from his post.

He said: “I think that is a real rude question. I’m a professional person and when things aren’t working it is my responsibility to do all I can to put things right.”

North End’s players looked like they were going some way to putting things right on the pitch as the action got under way at Huish Park.

Striker Chris Beardsley gave the visitors the lead in the 30th minute when he latched on to a pass from Lee Holmes, turned his marker superbly before drilling a low finish across keeper Marek Stech into the far bottom corner.

It was a lead they held until deep into the second half but two goals in the space of six minutes turned the contest in favour of the Glovers.

James Hayter struck a close-range equaliser in the 73rd minute, then substitute Nathan Ralph put Yeovil ahead after North End had failed to deal with an Ed Upson 

To rub salt into the wounds, Paddy Madden was put through to tuck away a third goal in the third minute of stoppage time.

PNE’s 136 travelling fans chanted for Westley’s head and even the Yeovil supporters joined in with the taunts, singing, ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ in the direction of the Lilywhites boss.

After the one-game caretaker stint of John Dreyer, current boss Simon Grayson was installed.

Out of the starting XI that played that evening at Yeovil, only Paul Huntington and John Welsh are likely starters tomorrow.