From elation to deflation: Former Preston ace Ian Bryson recalls his famous Wembley overhead kick, but ultimately it would prove to be in vain for him and Preston
It's 26 years to the day since Preston were beaten by Wycombe Wanderers 4-2 in the 1994 Third Division play-off final at Wembley. Here ex-PNE skipper Ian Bryson, who scored with a spectacular overhead kick on the day, recalls the match , recalls
A few people have suggested to Ian Bryson over the years that he has scored one of the greatest goals ever seen at the old Wembley stadium.
The former Preston midfielder sent Lilywhites fans into raptures during the 1994 Third Division play-off final against Wycombe Wanderers.
Bryson produced a memorable overhead kick in the 32nd minute to hand North End the lead.
Unfortunately, PNE’s fans inside the Twin Towers had only just finished celebrating Bryson’s acrobatic excellence, when the Chairboys went down the other end a minute later and equalised through a Jamie Squires’ own goal.
Despite Paul Raynor heading John Beck’s men back in front before the interval, Wanderers proved too strong in the second half and ran out 4-2 winners, to seal promotion.
Bryson admits his memory of that game is bitter-sweet. Thrilled to score such a great goal – ultimately he was left disappointed at the final whistle. He admits that he would have preferred to have scored a tap-in from two yards, if it would have meant Preston winning.
“It was out-of-this-world elation to score a goal like that at Wembley,” Bryson said.
“I had never scored a goal like that before – not in a proper game anyway.
“When you try for something like that, there’s a chance of making a fool of yourself but I caught it pretty sweet. For a minute, it was an unbelievable feeling but they then went up the other end of the park and scored straight away, so the feeling did not last long.
“But looking back at the game, we did not deserve to win. Even though we were leading at half-time, they were the better side on the day.”
Bryson revealed that a factor which may have contributed to the loss was a surprise team selection by Beck shortly before kick-off.
He said: “I think we had trained all week with Stuart Hicks at centre half and then at quarter past two, John Beck named the team and Jamie Squires was playing. I think that was a bit of a shock to us all.”