Retro game: Preston North End's six-goal drubbing by Chester in the re-election season

Wayne Foster is congratulated by John Thomas after scoring Preston's first goal against Chester in October 1985
Wayne Foster is congratulated by John Thomas after scoring Preston's first goal against Chester in October 1985

The 1985/86 re-election season was one littered with awful results for Preston North End and one which really stood out was a drubbing at Deepdale at the hands of Chester.

North End were beaten 6-3 on October 12, 1985, with them 4-1 down by half-time.

Preston midfielder Brian Chippendale has a shot blocked in a penalty-box scramble against Chester at Deepdale in October 1985

Preston midfielder Brian Chippendale has a shot blocked in a penalty-box scramble against Chester at Deepdale in October 1985

Four of the visitors’s goals came from Stuart Rimmer on his 21st birthday.

The Southport-born striker had written to PNE as a teenager asking for a trial but never got a reply.

Nine years after this four-goal salvo, Rimmer did get to play for Preston – two games in the 1994/95 season when on loan from Chester.

This game was not the first time that Tommy Booth’s team had been hit for six – Northampton Town had beaten them 6-0 a month before.

Preston striker Wayne Foster shields the ball from a Chester defender

Preston striker Wayne Foster shields the ball from a Chester defender

Booth was to describe his side’s defending in the loss to Chester as ‘a total shambles’.

“We can’t carry on like this,” said Booth.

“It is laughable the way sides go through us. Our fans have been superb yet we give them performances like this.”

For the opening half hour of the clash, played in front of a crowd of 4,097 which was pretty decent for the era, there was nothing to hint that nine goals would come that afternoon.

But by half-time, Chester effectively had the game in the bag.

They took a 32nd minute lead, Milton Graham’s cross slid in by Rimmer.

Chester made it 2-0 soon after through former North End midfielder John Kelly who finished-off a fine move which cut the hosts open.

Preston halved the deficit in the 40th minute, a cross from Gary Brazil flicked on by John Thomas to find Wayne Foster who fired home his first league goal for PNE.

Any hope that gave them though, was wiped-out by two Chester goals before the interval – Rimmer scoring them both to complete his hat-trick.

North End supporters could barely digest what they had seen over their half-time pie and cuppa.

It got worse for the home faithful in the 66th minute as Chester went 5-1 ahead, sub Ricky Greenhough volleying past PNE keeper John Platt.

There followed a revival of sorts by Booth’s men as they pulled back two goals.

Paul Welsh, on as a substitute for Nigel Keen, headed home a Brazil cross shortly after his arrival from the bench.

When Brazil was fouled in the box by Graham, Preston were awarded a penalty.

Brazil dusted himself down to fire home from the spot, that his 10th goal of the season – some achievement in a struggling side.

Welsh went close with a volley which whistled just past the post, North End sensing they could salvage something from the game.

But Chester finished them off when Bob Atkins brought down Rimmer and gave away a penalty.

Platt saved Rimmer’s spot kick but the referee ordered it to be retaken.

The second time, Rimmer made no mistake to put the tin lid on a miserable day for North End.

PNE: Platt, Twentyman, Atkins, Gibson, Jones, Keen (Welsh), Martin, Chippendale, Brazil, Thomas, Foster.

Attendance: 4,097.