Special FA Cup third round day was one to forget for Preston, says fan John Smith

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Despite the competition having been devalued by some of the big clubs in modern times,  since childhood FA Cup third round day has always been a special occasion for me.

However, our tie against Cardiff was not particularly memorable. Being forced to view it on a television screen made me feel that I had stepped back in time to that strange dark place of last season where football was played but not watched in the soulless eerie settings of empty stadiums.

When the draw was initially made I thought the game’s result would probably add to our woeful recent FA Cup record which had seen us record just one victory in the last six seasons.

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However, since then and just like Doctor Who in the long running sci-fi series, we had also seen a regeneration at our club with Ryan Lowe installed as boss.

Josh Harrop was back in a PNE shirt as he came on against CardiffJosh Harrop was back in a PNE shirt as he came on against Cardiff
Josh Harrop was back in a PNE shirt as he came on against Cardiff

Dressed in a hooded coat and enthusiastically barking out his instructions in between his vigorous chewing of gum, Lowe cut such an imposing figure on the touchline that I thought he could even have played the character of The Doctor himself . Seeing this made me feel more confident that we could get a result as unlike the Daleks I thought the Bluebirds would not be as formidable opponents.

However, I was unfortunately I was proved to be wrong as they had enough to “exterminate” my FA Cup dream for another year. We dominated the first 20 minutes of the game possession-wise without creating any clear cut chances but allowed the home side to grow into the game and some poor defending saw us concede a goal before the interval.

In the second half we soon got back in the game with a trademark DJ penalty but following this, both sides cancelled each other out and the game went into extra time.

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It looked like it was heading to penalties until four minutes from time when our “all at sea” defence conceded another poor goal.

The only consolation to ease my disappointment at missing out on a cup day out was that I could now concentrate on eating the Sunday roast dinner.

journey back home.

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