Preston North End retro game - Mick Baxter rescues a point for PNE against Notts County in 1978

PNE striker Mick Robinson challenges Notts County goalkeeper Eric McManus
PNE striker Mick Robinson challenges Notts County goalkeeper Eric McManus

Preston North End rescued a draw against Notts County at Deepdale in December 1978 as their good form in the Second Division continued.

The 1-1 draw formed part of a run which helped them recover from a poor start to life in the second tier and go on to establish themselves at this level.

Preston captain Francis Burns and a young mascot lead the team out against Notts County at Deepdale in December 1978

Preston captain Francis Burns and a young mascot lead the team out against Notts County at Deepdale in December 1978

Centre-half Mick Baxter scored North End’s equaliser after Mick Vinter had given the Magpies the lead.

Five days earlier, PNE had thrashed Charlton Athletic 6-1 at Deepdale, a game in which they turned on the style.

So perhaps County’s visit had a feel of ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’ about it.

It was still a point in the bag though, in the era of two points for a win.

PNE centre-half Mick Baxter rises between two Notts County players at Deepdale

PNE centre-half Mick Baxter rises between two Notts County players at Deepdale

In fact, the draw formed part of a 15-game unbeaten run in the league between December and early April.

Throw into the mix too a 3-0 win over First Division Derby County in the FA Cup, and it was a great spell for Nobby Stiles’ men.

On the back of a 6-1 win, it was no surprise that Stiles kept faith with the same starting XI for this game.

The only change was on the bench where midfielder Steve Doyle got the nod over Harry Wilson.

Preston's Eric Potts (partly hidden) challenges in the end with a Notts County defender at Deepdale in December 1978

Preston's Eric Potts (partly hidden) challenges in the end with a Notts County defender at Deepdale in December 1978

Notts County, managed by Jimmy Sirrell, arrived with an unchanged team for the seventh game running.

Playing towards the Kop in the first half, North End created a number of decent chances.

Don O’Riordan’s early shot deflected into the path of Alex Bruce who fired over the bar.

Sean Haslegrave put a shot wide after being played in by Gordon Coleman.

Mick Robinson thought he had given PNE the lead when he challenged Magpies goalkeeper Eric McManus in the air for a corner from Eric Potts.

When the ball dropped to the ground, Robinson was first to it and fired home.

However, referee Peter Willis ruled the effort out, citing a handball against Robinson.

The visitors took the lead in the 24th minute as Vinter exchanged passes with Paul Hocks, before firing past Roy Tunks from just inside the box with an assured finish.

As Preston pushed for an equaliser, Coleman twice put shots wide.

When Potts was fouled just outside the box in the 36th minute, North End were awarded a free-kick.

Haslegrave fired the first effort into the wall, with the rebound falling to O’Riordan who shot over.

The Lilywhites equalised in the 69th minute, the goal leading to lengthy protests from County.

Potts’ corner from the right was met by Baxter.

The defender’s header flew goalwards, with keeper McManus clawing it away on the line.

Referee Mr Willis, after consulting his linesman, ruled the ball had crossed the line and Baxter had his fourth goal of the season.

County’s players thought otherwise, so too manager Sirrell who continued the protests when speaking to the press after the game.


Preston: Tunks, Taylor, Baxter, O’Riordan, Cameron, Coleman, Haslegrave, Burns, Potts, Robinson, Bruce. Sub (not used: Doyle)