Preston North End retro: Andy Saville at the double to fire PNE to promotion at Leyton Orient 26 years ago

Andy Saville led an East End knees-up for Preston North End 26 years ago.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 3:00 pm

Saville struck twice in a 2-0 win over Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road on April 20, 1996, to secure PNE promotion from the Third Division.

It was the second time in nine years that Orient’s ground had been the scene of a promotion party, with the Lilywhites having celebrated there in 1987.

North End had endured a little wobble as promotion loomed into view, with a draw and two defeats in the three games before the trip to the capital.

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Preston North End fans celebrate promotion at Leyton Orient in 1996

If anything, it re-focused them and they performed well against Orient – watched from the stand by David Beckham who had been a team-mate of some of the PNE players the year before when on loan from Manchester United.

It was not surprising to see Saville on the scoresheet, these the bald-headed striker’s 27th and 28th goals of a very productive season. In terms of value for money, North End got an absolute bargain for the £100,000 fee they paid Birmingham City for him.

His opening goal came in the first half as John Vaughan’s goal kick landed near the edge of the box and as it bounced around, Kevin Kilbane got it under control and knocked it to the left hand side of the box to find Steve Wilkinson.

Andy Saville celebrates with Simon Davey after giving Preston North End the lead at Leyton Orient in 1996

Wilkinson’s opened up his body to cross right-footed into the middle and Saville met it six yards out to head home.

It was from much further out that Saville doubled the advantage after an hour of play.

Paul Sparrow launched a long ball forward from the right-back position which Wilkinson jumped to flick on.

The Orient keeper came to the edge of his box to kick clear but he scuffed to into the path of Saville 25 yards out.

Andy Saville goes close for PNE against Leyton Orient

Calm as you like, Saville took a touch before lifting a left-foot shot over the stranded keeper and into the net.

Saville celebrated by pulling the front of his shirt over his head and walking arms aloft towards the 2,500 PNE supporters gathered on the terrace behind the goal.

At the final whistle many of those fans swarmed on to the pitch to celebrate.

PNE: Vaughan, Sparrow, Wilcox, Moyes, Barrick, Gage, Bryson, Davey, Kilbane (Bennett), Wilkinson, Saville. Subs (not used): Lucas, Kidd.

PNE fans celebrate on the pitch at Brisbane Road after clinching promotion with victory over Leyton Orient in April 1996