Preston North End’s summer of 2012 squad, built on the back of a ‘revolution’, was given its bow in competitive action against Huddersfield Town in the League Cup.
It’s fair to say it got the nod of approval from a Monday night crowd who filed out of Deepdale impressed by a 2-0 victory for the Lilywhites.
Ten of the starting XI had arrived that close season, with three more new boys coming off the bench.
The PNE squad had been stripped down and rebuilt by Graham Westley in a manner he described as a ‘revolution’.
Goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann was the only starter not new to the club and that was only because Richard Wright had upped sticks after three days.
Westley had arrived in January 2012 but the summer had been his blueprint to change things radically.
The London Olympics meant a later start to the league season.
Instead, the League Cup kicked-off the campaign and the draw had seen Preston land a tie with Huddersfield from the Championship.
The Terriers at the time were managed by Simon Grayson, their bench that night including Tom Clarke and Calum Woods.
All three would end up at Deepdale, Clarke arriving in 2013 and still here.
Goals from Jack King and Nicky Wroe delivered the win and a place in the hat for the second round draw.
Both came in the first half as North End got on top of the contest and pretty much stayed in control.
The hosts could have been a goal to the good inside the first minute.
Scott Laird’s cross was chested down by striker Chris Beardsley into the path of John Mousinho.
The PNE skipper caught it on the half-volley, his shot parried by Alex Smithies.
King chased the rebound and hit a shot across goal and wide.
Oscar Gobern put a chance wide at the other end, while James Spencer got in behind the Preston defence but was unable to control a pass under pressure from Paul Huntington and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff.
North End went in front in the 29th minute. Jeffrey Monakana was the creator, the winger having got behind the Town defence.
His cross found King in the box who looped a header back over Smithies and into the net.
Monakana blasted a shot over the bar from Mousinho’s pass before Preston found the net again five minutes before half-time.
Beardsley chased a pass to the touchline on the right and shielded it as he got company from the visitors’ defence.
He managed to turn and pull the ball into the middle where midfielder Wroe had the simple task of tapping in from six yards.
The pace and tempo of the game dropped somewhat in the second half, that not too much of a surprise bearing in mind this was the first game with any meaning.
David Buchanan came off the bench at half-time to take the place of Lee Holmes.
He set up a 53rd minute chance for Monakana but the young winger drilled a shot across goal and wide.
Wroe drove an effort too high, while substitute David Amoo whipped a low centre across the face of goal but no one could get on the end of it.
Huddersfield had a late chance to reduce the deficit but Adam Clayton’s shot went past the post with the help of a deflection.
This cup win formed part of a decent start to the season by North End.
It was something of a false dawn though, with fortunes starting to unravel towards the end of autumn, it followed by a winter of discontent.