Retro: Preston North End's 1997 defeat to Wrexham in Isle of Man final

In the summer of 1997 Preston North End ventured to the Isle of Man for part of their pre-season schedule.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 3:00 pm

They took part in the Isle of Man International Football Festival and reached the final where they were beaten 1-0 by Wrexham in a stormy contest.

A 2-0 win against Shamrock Rovers and victory over Oldham in a penalty shoot-out took them to the final at the Douglas Bowl.

Pre-season silverware was to elude them though, Peter Ward’s 50th minute goal enough to give Wrexham the victory.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Michael Jackson and Simon Davey in action for Preston North End against Wrexham in the 1997 Isle of Man International Festival final

The referee had to ask that three players be substituted during the game rather than send them off, neither manager wanting suspensions to kick-in for the start of the season.

PNE midfielder Julian Darby and Wrexham striker Kevin Russell were subbed in the 26th minute after a tussle which might normally have meant red cards being shown.

Then Darby’s team-mate Gary Parkinson was hooked a few minutes to save him from being sent-off.

It was not quite the gentler loosener which many pre-season fixtures tend to be.

Preston North End defender Colin Murdock in action against Wrexham in the Isle of Man

Read More

Read More
Preston North End teenager's ability stood out to Ryan Lowe from the very start ...

Darby and Russell clashed after Russell pulled the North End man to the floor as they chased a ball on half-way. They started fighting on the ground and once peace broke out, the referee signalled to the bench for both to be subbed.

When Parkinson reacted angrily to a tackle from Dean Spink, it was his turn to be brought off.

North End midfielder Sean Gregan came close to breaking the deadlock with a 25-yard free-kick which keeper Andy Marriott tipped past the post.

Simon Davey goes up for a header for Preston North End against Wrexham in the Isle of Man International Festival final

Wrexham’s winner was a good one, Spink's shot on the edge of the box was only half cleared by Simon Davey, and Ward was on hand to fire an unstoppable shot past Tepi Moilanen.

PNE came close to an equaliser on two occasions with Ryan Kidd being denied after a fine save on the line from Marriott.

Then the keeper bravely saved at the feet of Davey after he had been played in by Dean Barrick.

In the dying minutes, Marriott caused a flutter to Welsh hearts by misdirecting David Reeves' header and pushing it against the back of team mate Brian Carey.

Preston North End defender Ryan Kidd gets his runners-up medal from Dave Morgan of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

PNE: Moilanen, Parkinson (Atkinson 32), Kidd, Murdock, Jackson, Gregan, Darby (Davey 26), Ashcroft, Reeves, McKenna (Holt 45), Barrick. Subs (not used): Squires, Kelham, O'Hanlon.