PNE retro game: FA Cup shock for Preston in 1994 when Kidderminster knocked them out

The FA Cup lost its magic for Preston North End in January 1994 when they were dumped out of the famous old competition by non-league Kidderminster.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 9:44 am
Preston striker Mike Conroy and defender David Moyes challenge in the Kidderminster box in the FA Cup in January 1994

A goal two minutes into the second half sunk PNE at a packed Aggborough, the cup upset shown on Match of the Day later that night.

Kidderminster were top of the Vauxhall Conference at the time, North End pushing for promotion from the old Third Division.

So it fell very much into the shock result category and led to an apology from manager John Beck to the 2,300 North End fans who had made the trip to Worcestershire.

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Preston substitute Micky Norbury sees a shot blocked in a scramble against Kidderminster in January 1994

“It is a total mystery to me, we just didn’t play,” said Beck to the gathered media.

“It was very surprising that we didn’t perform, it was almost as if we froze on the day.

“The game passed us by for some reason, the lads are very disappointed.

“Good luck to Harriers for their cup run, they have done tremendously well to get to this round.

Preston's Gareth Ainsworth makes a challenge in the F Cup clash with Kidderminster in January 1994

“We both had a couple of chances but they stuck one of their’s away and we didn’t.

“That’s cup football. Now we have to bounce back in a positive way.”

North End knew they were going into a tough game, Kidderminster having beaten Birmingham City at St Andrew’s in the previous round.

After a strong start to the season, results for Beck’s men had faded in the two months before the tie.

PNE's Micky Norbuy lifts a shot over the Kidderminster goalkeeper but it goes over

They had won just one of their previous eight league games, although they had drawn five of them.

In the FA Cup they had beaten Mansfield Town and Shrewsbury away, before knocking Bournemouth out in the third round at home.

Beck dropped goalkeeper Kelham O’Hanlon for the tie, recalling Steve Woods in his place.

Gareth Ainsworth came into the side to replace Ian Bryson who has a calf strain.

On the bench, there was a return to the squad for Neil Whalley.

Overall, Kidderminster were the better side on the day but North End did have the chances to at least take the tie back to Deepdale for a replay.

The contest’s only goal came in the 47th minute, it scored at the end of the ground where the travelling Preston fans were massed.

A clearance from North End central defender Gavin Nebelling was picked up by Jon Purdie 10 yards into the PNE half.

Purdie advanced down the left-wing, with Preston right-back Andy Fensome backing off.

The winger went down the side of the box and put in a low cross which evaded David Moyes and Nebelling, Delwyn Humphreys firing home a low shot from six yards.

Humphreys celebrated with a back flip on the pitch as the home fans went wild.

As PNE chased the game, Beck brought on substitute Micky Norbury in place of top scorer Tony Ellis but to no avail.

PNE: Woods, Fensome, Moyes, Nebelling, Kidd, Cartwright, Ainsworth, Lucas, Raynor, Conroy, Ellis (Norbury). Subs (not used): Whalley, O’Hanlon.