PNE retro game - Mike Elwiss at the double in 1977

PNE midfielder Gordon Coleman attempts to put in a cross against Port Vale in August 1977
PNE midfielder Gordon Coleman attempts to put in a cross against Port Vale in August 1977

Preston North End and Port Vale saw a lot of each other in August 1977, with the teams meeting three times in 10 days.

The 1977/78 campaign kicked off with the League Cup, North End and Vale paired together in the two-legged first round.

PNE striker John Smith looks to charge down a Port Vale defender

PNE striker John Smith looks to charge down a Port Vale defender

On August 13, Vale were 2-1 winners in the first leg in the Potteries – Alex Bruce found the net for PNE.

In the return leg four days later, two Mike Elwiss goals delivered a 2-1 victory for North End.

With the aggregate score level, the teams headed to neutral Edgeley Park for a replay.

North End triumphed 2-1, with goals from Elwiss and Bruce, to set up a clash with Walsall in the second round.

PNE on the attack at a corner against Port Vale - Mick Baxter and Mike Elwiss look for the ball

PNE on the attack at a corner against Port Vale - Mick Baxter and Mike Elwiss look for the ball

By this time, they had only played one Third Division clash, that a 0-0 draw with Plymouth on the opening day of the league campaign.

On the eve of the return leg at Deepdale, North End had been boosted by the news Elwiss had signed a new two-year contract.

That saw the striker come off the transfer list and was a huge lift to new Preston boss Nobby Stiles.

He had taken over that summer, succeeding Harry Catterick.

North End midfielder Jimmy Brown puts in a cross against Port Vale in 1977

North End midfielder Jimmy Brown puts in a cross against Port Vale in 1977

Stiles had previously held office for a short period as caretaker manager two years earlier when Bobby Charlton had quit the job in protest over the sale of John Bird to Newcastle in part-exchange for Bruce.

For the first half against Vale, North End were poor as they looked to level up the aggregate score.

Stiles admitted it had taken some harsh words in the dressing room to get his side going.

The 1966 England World Cup winner said: “We were not good enough in the first half.

Fans watch PNE v Port Vale in August 1977

Fans watch PNE v Port Vale in August 1977

“That is why I put the sub Ricky Thomson on for John Smith. I gave the players a real roasting at half-time.”

Stiles’ words went on to have the desired effect.

Elwiss fired them ahead on the night with a left-foot shot in the 56th minute, bringing them level in the tie.

But the advantage swung back the way of Vale in the 76th minute when North End keeper Roy Tunks brought down Ken Beamish in the box.

Jeff Hemmerman beat Tunks from the spot with the resulting penalty to equalise on the night and put Vale 3-2 up on aggregate.

Elwiss came to Preston’s rescue four minutes from time, finding the net for the second time.

PNE favoured the replay taking place at Tranmere’s Prenton Park ground.

But the league ruled that Edgeley Park – the home of Stockport County – be used.

It was there on August 23, three days after the long trip to Plymouth in the league, that Stiles’ men won 2-1 with Elwiss and Bruce on target.

The pair were potent all season, their goals playing a huge part in Preston being promoted the following May.

Preston: Tunks, McMahon, Baxter, Cross, Wilson, Brown, Doyle, Coleman, Smith (Thomson), Elwiss, Bruce.

Attendance: 5,816