Preston North End retro: Victory for PNE at Anfield......against Crewe Alexandra

Current Premier League managers are recoiling in horror at the prospect of FA Cup replays.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 12:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 12:14 pm
Preston score their second goal against Crewe in their FA Cup second replay at Anfield

Yet in days gone by, it could sometimes take two if not more replays to settle a tie in the famous old competition.

In November 1976, Preston North End and Crewe took three attempts to settle their first-round tie.

The trio of matches were squashed into a nine-day period, with both sides playing a league game in that time too.

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Preston striker John Smith challenges a Crewe defender at Anfield

Crewe and PNE drew 1-1 in the first game at Gresty Road, with the replay at Deepdale three days later ending 2-2.

Second replays took part at neutral grounds and Liverpool’s Anfield was chosen on this occasion.

The Monday evening fixture drew a crowd of 7,334 and North End triumphed in front the Kop.

In fact they were the only side other than Liverpool to win at Anfield that season.

PNE midfielder Jimmy Brown holds off a challenge from a Crewe player at Anfield

Bob Paisley’s side went the full campaign unbeaten on home turf, so Preston winning there is worth a pub quiz question.

David Sadler, Jimmy Brown and Mike Elwiss found the net that night as finally the first-round tie was settled.

Sadler put North End in front eight minutes before half-time.

Brown took a corner on the right which striker John Smith headed on, Sadler the first to react in a crowded penalty box to send a low shot into the net.

PNE fans at Preston Station on their way to Crewe for the first of three FA Cup meetings in November 1976

Crewe responded with a shot from Peter Abbott which sailed over Roy Tunks’ bar.

At the other end Elwiss saw a shot saved by Geoff Crudgington, then Elwiss had the ball in the net only to see it ruled out for a foul by Mark Lawrenson on the keeper.

Gordon Coleman shouted for a penalty when his shot hit Paul Bevan on the arm but the referee waved played on.

The Lilywhites doubled their advantage early in the second half.

Brown started and finished it, his defence-splitting pass finding Elwiss on the left-wing. Elwiss took the ball to the byline and cut it back into the path of Smith who fired a shot goalwards.

It was Brown who got the last touch to take it over the line from close range.

Further chances came for Elwiss and Alex Bruce as North End upped the pressure on Crewe.

Any doubts that PNE were heading for the second round were ended in the 86th minute when they scored their third goal.

Elwiss got it, that the reward for an impressive display up front.

Gordon Coleman put over a cross from the right which Elwiss met to head home.

The three matches with Crewe earned North End an estimated £7,500 in gate receipts – a decent amount of money then.

Liverpool got a 10 per cent share of the Anfield gate. PNE and Crewe got 40% each, with the FA taking the other 10 per cent.

North End: Tunks, McMahon, Sadler, Lawrenson, Williams, Coleman, Burns, Brown, Smith, Elwiss, Bruce. Sub (not used): Doyle.