Memory match: Preston North End beat Brentford 5-3 on the Deepdale plastic in 1989
Preston fans who watched their side through the era of the plastic pitch at Deepdale will have their own favourite memory of it.
That might have been the final game on the artificial surface when PNE stormed back to beat Torquay in the play-offs in May 1994.
Plenty of good memories came during the pitch’s debut season, North End winning promotion from Division Four – beating Northampton Town or the celebratory pitch invasion against Tranmere spring to mind.
Another game which was packed with entertainment came on March 4, 1989, when Preston beat Brentford 5-3.
For twists and turns, so too the standard of football from both sides,it could be argued it was up there with the best game on Deepdale’s magic carpet.
The Third Division clash swung one way and then the other. Preston led 1-0, trailed 2-1, pulled back to 2-2 and then fell behind at 3-2.
It didn’t matter that they lost a striker to illness early in the second half, substitute Warren Joyce coming off the bench to score twice as John McGrath’s men won for the third game on the bounce.
A couple of months later, North End were to pip the Bees for a play-off place by four points.
The 8,166 crowd inside the ground went home superbly entertained.
PNE headed into the game on the back of a 6-0 win over Chesterfield and a 3-1 victory at Gillingham.
The tailwind they had got from those two results was to contribute to a flying start to this clash, Tony Philliskirk putting them in front inside two minutes.
Sent clear by Tony Ellis’ pass, Philliskirk found the net with a low finish.
Philliskirk was to leave the field later on suffering from a stomach bug and didn’t play too many more games before falling out of favour – strange when his scoring record had been good.
The early lead was wiped out by the 10th minute, Simon Ratcliffe connecting with a free-kick into the box to head past Roy Tunks.
PNE keeper Tunks was beaten again by a Jamie Bates header with 17 minutes gone, smiles turning to frowns in the home sections.
But the hosts made it 2-2 in the 23rd minute, Neil William’s shot having been handled by Roger Stanislaus.
The referee pointed to the spot and Mark Patterson did the honours from 12 yards.
Brentford wrestled the lead back though, less than 30 seconds after half-time.
Kevin Godfrey found the net with a curling shot, PNE’s defending not of the highest quality it has to be said.
Joyce coming off the bench to replace Philliskirk was significant.
The midfielder pulled his side level in the 70th minute, running on Patterson’s pass to tuck a shot past the keeper.
Just six minutes later, Preston went in front.
Patterson got behind the visitors’ defence and played in a low cross which found its way to Ellis.
The striker dragged the ball back across a defender and drove home a low shot.
PNE were not finished there, the excitement levels raised another notch in the 89th minute.
Brian Mooney, the king of the plastic, sent Ellis away down the channel.
Ellis put over a low cross which Joyce slid in to knock into the net from close range to the delight of the crowd.
Preston North End: Tunks, Williams, Jones, Atkins, Wrightson, Rathbone, Mooney, Bogie, Patterson, Philliskirk (Joyce), Ellis. Sub (unused): Swann.