Preston North End memory match - the winning goal and a blood covered shirt for Michael Jackson against Wigan in April 2000
Ask any Preston North End fan for their best memory of a game against Wigan and it would be the 1-0 victory at the JJB Stadium in April 2000.
The Tuesday night win was a giant stride forward in their quest for promotion, one which was achieved later in the month – PNE went up as Second Division champions.
Nearly 7,000 North End supporters filled one side of the ground, with no doubt a few more in other areas.
Michael Jackson’s goal in the 17th minute was enough to take the three points back up the M6.
The defender lifted a shot into the net after a mistake in the home defence at a corner.
Jackson then did a fine job at the other end too, a head wound sustained during the second half leaving his white shirt soaked with blood.
It was such bravery and battling qualities which saw the Lilywhites through to a deserved win.
The build-up to the winner started with a free-kick from Paul McKenna which struck the wall and bounced out for a corner.
McKenna claimed, and with good reason, that it had struck an arm in the wall.
Rob Edwards and Bjarki Gunnlaugsson worked the corner short, with Edwards sending a cross into the box.
Wigan striker Neil Roberts got his angles all wrong when trying to head clear, putting the ball across goal into the six-yard box.
Jackson was first to react, hooking a shot over keeper Roy Carroll into the net.
Off he went to celebrate with the Preston fans in the East Stand.
PNE skipper Sean Gregan met a Graham Alexander free-kick but headed over, while there were chances too for Gunnlaugsson, Iain Anderson and Mark Rankine.
Before half-time, North End keeper Teuvo Moilanen pushed Simon Haworth’s shot behind, then tipped a header from Arjan de Zeeuw over the bar from the corner.
The second half saw PNE try to extend their lead but without leaving gaps at the back.
Jon Macken put a shot too close to the keeper from a good position which would have saved a nervous finish.
As it was, North End held on and the promotion push gathered a great deal of speed as a result.