Retro match: Preston North End need extra-time to see off Tranmere Rovers in 1984
Extra-time was needed by Preston North End to see off Tranmere Rovers in the Milk Cup in September 1984.
Alan Kelly’s men held a 3-2 advantage from the first leg at Prenton Park going into the Deepdale clash.
Geoff Twentyman, Mike Farrelly and John Kelly had struck a week earlier on the Wirral and North End should really have made easier work of the second leg.
As it was, Fourth Division Tranmere scored in the 20th minute which was to take the game into extra-time.
PNE found their feet in the additional half hour, scoring twice to go 2-1 in the lead on the night and 5-3 on aggregate.
While the visitors went on to equalise in the second half of extra-time, the hosts held on to claim a place in the hat for the next round.
This game was played in front of a meagre crowd of 2,557.
North End’s starting XI showed just one change from a 3-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers in the league, with Jon Clark replacing Dave Jones.
Tranmere started much the brighter and were to serve notice of their intent with a 20th-minute shot from John Aspinall which struck the post.
The visitors took the lead when Doug Anderson floated a corner into the middle, one which Preston keeper Peter Litchfield came to meet.
But he fluffed his lines, succeeding only in punching it into his own net.
North End striker Paul Wilkins wasted a chance to equalise when he volleyed over the bar from close in.
In the second half, the hosts lost the services of left-back Andy McAteer to an Achilles tendon injury.
McAteer was replaced by striker Peter Houghton which meant a reshuffle.
Dale Rudge moved from midfield to take McAteer’s left-back slot.
Willie Naughton moved to the wing to allow Houghton to partner Wilkins up front.
With Tranmere seeing it through to 90 minutes with the 1-0 lead, the game went to extra-time.
Within two minutes of the restart, Preston pulled level on the night and ahead in the tie.
John Kelly sent over a cross which Houghton rose to rose home.
Soon after North End were ahead and finally had a stranglehold on the tie.
Wilkins was on target this time, meeting a cross from Willie Naughton and heading past Rovers goalkeeper Nigel Adkins.
Tranmere made it 2-2 in the 115th minutes thanks to a header from John Clayton.
That was the end of the night’s scoring, PNE winning the tie 5-4 on aggregate.
North End manager Kelly was not impressed with his side’s display.
Kelly said: “We were very fortunate, had that been a league game which finished after 90 minutes, we would have lost the game.”
PNE won their next three league games – including a 2-1 victory at Hull City which was shown on Match of the Day – before going on an eight-match losing run.
Preston: Litchfield, Clark, Twentyman, Booth, McAteer (Houghton 75), Farrelly, Kelly, Rudge, Houston, Wilkins, Naughton.