Preston North End retro game: A big moment for PNE striker Steve Basham at Walsall in 2002

Steve Basham scored Preston North End’s late winner against Walsall at the Bescot Stadium in January2002, the goal a personal milestone for the striker.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 11:45 am
Steve Basham after scoring Preston's winner against Walsall at the Bescot Stadium in January 2002

It was Basham’s first goal since returning from a broken leg suffered 15 months before.

He struck in the 85th minute as North End came from a goal down to claim victory in the Midlands.

The Saddlers had taken the lead through Darren Wrack but the afternoon turned on a red card for Frederick Biancalani.

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Steve Basham scores for Preston against Walsall in January 2002

Within 60 seconds of the Frenchman’s dismissal, Iain Anderson pulled Preston level with a fine goal.

The stage was then set for substitute Basham to score the winner to the delight of a large Preston away support.

In October 2000, Basham has suffered a double break to his right leg playing against Tranmere Rovers at Deepdale. He returned to action nine months later in August 2001 but had not got on to the scoresheet until this trip down the M6.

North End boss David Moyes was without four key players for the game, with Sean Gregan, Mark Rankine, Lee Cartwright and Richard Cresswell missing through injury.

Iain Anderson is mobbed by his Preston team-mates after equalising against Walsall at the Bescot Stadium in January 2002

Moyes paired Michael Keane and Paul McKenna in the centre of midfield, with Eric Skora given his debut on the right-wing.

Skora looked a little lost as he got his first taste of an English league game, the Frenchman having been signed on a prove-yourself deal until the end of the season.

He eventually gave way to matchwinner Basham as PNE pushed for the victory.

The first half was scrappy with neither side doing enough to get on top.

Preston defender Colin Murdock wins a header against Walsall, watched by team-mate Chris Lucketti

PNE’s best chance in the opening 45 minutes was a shot from David Healy which Walsall keeper James Walker pushed behind.

They upped the tempo after half-time, Healy going close with a header.

Jonathan Macken, who was going through a scoring drought, had the chance to end that when he got clear in the box. But the ball bobbled as he shaped to shoot and the striker sliced his effort wide.

Walsall took the lead when Ian Brightwell’s long ball was flicked on by former PNE striker Brett Angell.

Michael Keane challenges for the ball in Preston's win at Walsall in January 2002

Wrack darted through to meet it and tucked a low shot past David Lucas.

It was nearly 2-0 within 60 seconds, an Angell header coming back off the bar.

Biancalani was shown the red card in the 74th minute for a stamp on Macken as they tussled for the ball.

Moments later, winger Anderson cut inside from the left-wing and fired a right-foot shot across Walker into the far bottom corner.

Five minutes from time, centre-half Colin Murdock brought the ball out from the back and picked out Basham with a low ball.

Basham latched on to it, spun on the edge of the box and fired home.

PNE: Lucas, Alexander, Lucketti, Murdock, Edwards, Skora (Basham), McKenna, Keane, Anderson, Macken, Healy. Subs (not used): Eaton, Robinson, Barry-Murphy, Moilanen.