PNE retro game - Preston 1 Newport 1, January 1985

Geoff Twentyman (No.5) and Terry Gray look on as Peter Houghton is sprawled out on the Deepdale turf
Geoff Twentyman (No.5) and Terry Gray look on as Peter Houghton is sprawled out on the Deepdale turf

Preston North End had to settle for a point to see in the New Year when they played host to Newport County on January 1, 1985.

It was a seventh match without a win for PNE, but was one they really should have won.

PNE go close against Newport

PNE go close against Newport

Having taken the lead with a goal from midfielder John Kelly, they let the back door ajar for the South Wales visitors to equalise.

Late in the contest they were handed a golden chance of regaining the lead from the penalty spot.

But Kelly saw his spot kick well saved by the Newport keeper and the chance of three points went begging.

The game drew a crowd of only 3,375, not much of a surprise bearing in mind the season PNE were having.

Action from PNE's 1-1 draw with Newport on New Year's Day 1985

Action from PNE's 1-1 draw with Newport on New Year's Day 1985

A promising start which had seen them win four of their first five league games had given way to a run of eight defeats.

Since bringing an end to that run of losses, North End had won just twice.

They had also been knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league Telford United.

This draw at least saw them put a point on the board after two away defeats over Christmas.

The Newport defence clear their lines against PNE

The Newport defence clear their lines against PNE

North End bossed much of the play against Newport, but were unable to make that count.

The transfer-listed Peter Houghton was preferred to David Johnson in attack, with him partnering Nigel Greenwood.

Houghton brought some energy up front and helped create an early chance for Greenwood.

Preston took the lead in the 25th minute.

The ball fell to Kelly after a scramble in the box and he lashed a shot past the keeper.

Newport equalised in the 33rd minute after a rare foray forward had seen them win a corner on the left.

The corner was played short to Tony Reid who put the ball into the middle.

It landed at the feet of Ray Carter, who looked offside as the PNE defence pushed up.

But the linesman kept his flag down, Carter showing a cool head to control it and slip a shot past keeper Jeff Wealands, who was making his home debut after signing on loan from Manchester United over Christmas.

North End dominated in the second half but chances went begging.

The best one came in the 81st minute when Houghton was fouled by Linden Jones in the box.

Kelly stepped-up to take the penalty, but goalkeeper Mark Kendall went the right way and pulled off a fine save.

Even after that, there were chances for Preston to win it.

Dale Rudge and Geoff Twentyman went close, but the Newport defence held out to deny him victory.

It was only the ninth point which North End had taken from the last 54 on offer.

Another victory was not to come their way until late February when they beat Cambridge at Deepdale.

The campaign was to end inevitably in relegation, the first time Preston had dropped into the fourth tier in their proud history.

PNE: Wealands, Farrelly, Jones, Twentyman, Gray, Clark, Kelly, Rudge, Naughton, Houghton, Greenwood. Sub: Johnson