Flashback: When Preston North End's win over Birmingham saw them beat the drop in April 1992

Preston North End’s victory over Birmingham in April 1992 was significant in that it ensured Third Division safety for the Lilywhites.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 3:00 pm
Graham Shaw scores Preston's third goal against Birmingham at Deepdale in April 1992

The 3-2 win in the third to last game of the season put enough daylight between Les Chapman’s men and the relegation zone.

It dented the title hopes of the Blues though, the visitors having come to Deepdale top of the table.

They did go up but had to settle for the runners-up spot behind Brentford.

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Preston defender Mike Flynn celebrates with team-mate David Thompson after scoring against Birmingham at Deepdale in April 1992

Beating Birmingham was a continuation of a theme which had run through the season.

North End had picked up plenty of points against the sides challenging at the top but tended to disappoint when playing those near the bottom of the division.

They played some good football against Birmingham, watched by their highest home league attendance of the season – 7,738 which included a decent number from the Midlands.

A flying start helped their cause no end, with PNE in front after just 94 seconds.

PNE srtiker Ronnie Jepson challenges in the air against Birmingham

David Thompson curled a free-kick from the left-wing into the far post.

Centre-half Mike Flynn jumped to head it down into the goalmouth where Lee Cartwright hit a shot.

His effort took a deflection off team-mate Warren Joyce and looped into the net.

Nigel Gleghorn missed a chance to equalise when he headed wide, while a save from Simon Farnworth denied the striker again.

Lee Cartwright has a shot for Preston against Birmingham

Graham Shaw fired wide for PNE after getting clear of the Birmingham defence.

However, North End went 2-0 up in the 33rd minute.

Shaw sent over a corner which Blues keeper Kevin Dearden flapped at.

The ball fell to Flynn who smartly controlled it before rifling a fine shot into the net, a finish any striker would be proud of, let alone a defender.

Two minutes into the second half Birmingham halved the deficit.

Darren Rowbotham’s ball into the box found Simon Sturridge but the striker sliced his shot across goal.

Gleghorn was the first to react at the far post, firing into the net.

North End didn’t retreat into their shells though, instead dusting themselves down and going in search of a third goal.

Dearden looked nervous in the Blues’ nets, hitting a goal kick straight to Shaw who lifted a shot back over him and only just wide.

Moments later, another mistake from the keeper saw PNE make it 3-1.

Dearden threw the ball out towards his right-back but hadn’t spotted Ronnie Jepson lurking.

Jepson intercepted and laid the ball back into the path of Thompson who knocked it over the top of the visitors’ back four.

Shaw ran on to it, went round Dearden, before rolling a shot into the net.

The two-goal cushioned lasted until the 78th minute.

PNE keeper Farnworth rushed out of his box to try and cut out a ball intended for Sturridge.

He missed it, Sturridge able to cross into the middle for David Rennie to head into an unguarded net.

For the final 12 minutes Birmingham threw the kitchen sink at North End in search of an equaliser.

The home side stood firm though, and the final whistle was greeted with delight among the players and fans.

PNE: Farnworth, Williams, Greenall, Flynn, James, Thompson, Joyce, Cartwright, Ashcroft, Shaw, Jepson. Subs (not used): Wrightson, Christie.