PNE retro game: When Tony Ellis was Preston's hat-trick hero at Blackpool 27 years ago today
Tony Ellis was Preston North End’s groggy hero as he struck a hat-trick against old enemy Blackpool in October 1992.
Ellis had bagged twice in the derby clash before he was sparked clean out by an elbow to the face.
The striker climbed off the turf like a boxer getting up from the canvas, his legs wobbling under him.
But moments later he was still able to receive a ball into the box, turn his marker and fire a shot into the net to complete his treble.
Ellis’ goals gave North End their first league victory at Bloomfield Road for more than 31 years.
Not since February 1961 had they won in the bread and butter of the league by the seaside.
This was their day though, victory owing much to Ellis’ penalty box instincts and a grit and determination which caretaker boss Sam Allardyce had instilled.
This was a second game in charge for Allardyce, with him having been handed the reins on a temporary basis after time was called on Les Chapman.
Backed by a big following, North End took only three minutes to go in front.
Centre-back Mike Flynn launched a long throw-in from the right hand side of the pitch.
Tangerines goalkeeper Steve McIlhargey came out to try and claim but missed, it allowing Ellis to lean forward and nod the ball over the line from close range.
It got even better in the 11th minute when North End doubled the lead to stun the home fans and send the PNE fans at the other end of the ground into raptures.
The visitors won a free-kick inside their own half on the left channel.
Central defender Aaron Callaghan launched the ball forward into the Blackpool box.
Mark Leonard flicked it on to Lee Ashcroft who turned a low angled shot goalwards.
McIlhargey couldn’t hold it and Ellis was on it like a flash to knock the ball over the line.
Blackpool cut the deficit just before half-time. David Eyres – later to end up a PNE player – put over a cross which Trevor Sinclair dived to head home.
Preston bounced back and regained the two-goal cushion with the second half in its infancy.
Ellis was knocked to the floor by a robust challenge down the right-wing.
There was quite a delay as he received treatment and got unsteadily to his feet.
A throw-in was played down the right to give midfielder John Tinkler space to run into.
Tinkler put over a low cross which found Ellis with his back to goal eight yards out and still with work to do.
Ellis managed to turn his marker sharply and then guide a left-foot finish across the goalkeeper into the far bottom corner.
Gary Briggs pulled a goal back for the Seasiders in the 82nd minute to set up a nervy finish but Preston saw the game out to record a very welcome victory.
North End: Farnworth, Davidson, Flynn, Callaghan, Fowler (Kidd), Ashcroft, Cartwright, Tinkler, James, Ellis (Finney), Leonard.