When Chorley met Preston North End in the FA Cup at Blackburn in 1986 and earned a replay

The FA Cup pitched Chorley and Preston North End together in December 1986 and generated huge interest in Lancashire.

Sunday, 12th April 2020, 5:00 pm
Preston North End defender Sam Allardyce challenges Chorley goalkeeper Ian Senior in the FA Cup clash at Blackburn's Ewood Park in December 1986

They came out of the hat together in the second round but it first needed a superb effort from the Magpies to see off Fourth Division Wolves.

The non-league side drew 1-1 with Wolves in a first-round game played at Bolton’s Burnden Park.

A replay at Molineux also saw a 1-1 draw, so back the sides went to Burden Park for a third go at settling it.

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Chorley on the attack against PNE

Chorley caused a massive upset by winning the second replay 3-0, Charlie Cooper (2) and Mark Edwards netting.

They were the home side in the second round and the decision was made to switch the game to Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park ground.

The clash on December 6, attracted a crowd of 15,133, which was 5,000 more than Blackburn’s biggest crowd at Ewood so far that season.

It was also bigger than three games played that day in the old First Division.

John Thomas and Gary Brazil celebrate Brazil's header finding the net but the 'goal' was ruled out for offside

There were skirmishes on the terraces during the early part of the game but soon the attention was on the pitch.

Preston’s Gary Brazil found the net early on but his header in front of the Darwen End, where many of the North End fans were, was ruled out by an offside flag.

There were chances at both ends as the afternoon progressed, PNE defender Alex Jones seeing a looping header hooked clear by Phil Marsden.

It was Marsden who later kicked off the line from an Oshor Williams effort.

John Thomas celebrates scoring for PNE against Chorley in the FA Cup replay at Deepdale

At the other end, Gareth Webster went ever so close with a header.

John Thomas later hit the bar for North End but the game finished goalless.

Afterwards, PNE manager John McGrath said: “Chorley impressed me in the games against Wolves and I saw nothing here to change my opinion.

“It was a tremendous second half and one of the best 0-0 draws I’ve seen.

PNE defender Bob Atkins looks on as Chorley's No.10 gets in a header at Deepdale

“I thought Chorley had boarded up their goals at one point, but good luck to them.”

Magpies boss Ken Wright was proud of his players’ efforts in holding PNE.

Wright said: “I thought it was excellent performance and I’m getting used to that.

“They were tremendous, it was a great team effort.”

It was a quick turnaround between games, with the replay at Deepdale arranged for Tuesday, December 9.

The third-round draw on the Monday lunchtime saw the winners of North End and Chorley drawn away against Middlesbrough.

PNE striker John Thomas celebrates in front of the West Stand at Deepdale after scoring against Chorley

At the time, Boro were top of the Third Division, so there was an element of reward.

The replay drew a crowd of 16,308 and it was a night for North End supporters to enjoy as they beat Chorley 5-0.

Thomas was PNE’s hero, the striker scoring a hat-trick.

Oshor Williams and Gary Brazil also netted as Preston showed a ruthless streak.

Thomas gave the hosts a fourth-minute lead, latching on to Jonathan Clark’s header to run clear and slot a low shot across keeper Ian Senior.

Chorley, playing in a red away kit, went 2-0 behind in the 33rd minute.

Williams’ through ball sent Thomas clear and he finished well again.

Thomas completed his treble just before the hour. Ronnie Hildersley was tripped in the box by Wayne Roberts, Thomas stepping up to do the business from the penalty spot.

It was his third hat-trick of the season, doing likewise against Halifax in the league and Bury in the first round of the FA Cup.

Williams met a cross from Gary Swann – making his home debut – to loop a header over Senior for the fourth goal.

The scoring was completed by Brazil in the 76th minute. Micky Bennett’s strong run carried him up the left-hand side of the pitch and his pass released Thomas, who took the ball to the byline.

Thomas’ cross carried to Brazil beyond the far post who took a touch before firing home.

Magpies boss Wright admitted his side never got to grips with PNE or the plastic pitch.

McGrath said: “We did the business in a highly efficient manner."

Chorley players applaud their fans at Deepdale after bowing out of the FA Cup to Preston