Preston North End retro game - Easter delight for PNE against Leicester City in 1979

Preston striker Mick Robinson challenges Leicester City goalkeeper Mark Wallington at Deepdale
Preston striker Mick Robinson challenges Leicester City goalkeeper Mark Wallington at Deepdale

Easter 1979 was a busy one for Preston North End, with three matches squashed into four days.

They saved the best to last, beating Leicester City 4-0 at Deepdale on April 17.

Preston striker Alex Bruce scores against Leicester City at Deepdale in April 1979

Preston striker Alex Bruce scores against Leicester City at Deepdale in April 1979

On the Saturday, Nobby Stiles’ men had lost 2-1 at Wrexham, while on Easter Monday they drew 0-0 with Newcastle at home.

A little more than 26 hours after the final whistle of the Newcastle game, North End were back on the pitch to host Leicester, who had a young Gary Lineker among their ranks.

They summoned-up the energy to produce one of their best performances of the season, up there with a 4-1 victory over Blackburn and a 6-1 hammering of Charlton Athletic.

Alex Bruce scored twice, with Mick Robinson and Gordon Coleman on the scoresheet too.

Steve Doyle and Mick Robinson celebrate a Preston goal against Leicester City at Deepdale in April 1979

Steve Doyle and Mick Robinson celebrate a Preston goal against Leicester City at Deepdale in April 1979

This was North End’s first home win since February, and only a second victory in 13 games overall.

Nine of those had ended in draws, and with it being two points for a win in those days, draws weren’t a bad thing by a long chalk.

PNE boss Stiles made two changes to the side which had played the day before, Bruce getting the nod over Steve Elliott up front while Steve Doyle was Eric Potts’ replacement in midfield.

Potts had been injured in the Newcastle stalemate.

Alex Bruce challenges for the ball with Leicester goalkeeper Mark Wallington

Alex Bruce challenges for the ball with Leicester goalkeeper Mark Wallington

It took North End only five minutes to take the lead in front of a 10,394 crowd.

Graham Bell’s cross from the right found Robinson in the box, who volleyed into the net past Foxes goalkeeper Mark Wallington.

This was Robinson’s 14th goal of the season and added more to growing reputation.

Ahead of the game there had been reports of strong interest in the 20-year-old from Liverpool.

Brian Taylor (No.2) and Mick Robinson celebrate

Brian Taylor (No.2) and Mick Robinson celebrate

That summer Robinson was to move on, signing for Manchester City in a then club record £765,000 move.

Robinson had grasped his chance that season, taking over from Mike Elwiss, who had made a big-money move to Crystal Palace.

Bruce, Sean Haslegrave, Don O’Riordan, Coleman and Bell were all to test out Wallington with shots in the first half as North End dominated.

Leicester’s best chance of the first half saw a shot from Tommy Williams saved by Roy Tunks.

The home side doubled their lead in the 44th minute in some style.

Bruce got on the end of a cross from right-back Brian Taylor to sweep a fine low volley into the net.

Preston’s third came after the interval, midfielder Coleman cutting into the box, past two Foxes defenders, and firing low into the net.

As the second half went on, Leicester rallied with Tunks saving a header from Lineker.

But PNE finished them off with a fourth goal in the 85th minute.

Robinson’s shot was blocked, that leading to a goalmouth scramble – Bruce on hand to force the ball home from close range.

Preston: Tunks, Taylor, Uzelac, O’Riordan, Cameron, Doyle, Bell, Haslegrave, Coleman, Robinson, Bruce. Sub (not used): Thomson.

Attendance: 10,394