Retro game: Preston North End's 2-2 draw with Bristol Rovers at Deepdale in September 1982
and live on Freeview channel 276
The 3,872 crowd was the lowest at the time for a PNE league game at Deepdale.
There were attendances lower than that as the season went on, a decline which was to continue over the next couple of years.
Those who did turn up for this game saw four goals scored in the first 48 minutes of the contest.
North End twice took the lead through Graham Bell and Steve Elliott, Rovers twice equalising with goals from Mike Barrett and Geraint Williams.
The draw halted a run of four league defeats, the one prior to this game being a 5-1 mauling at Exeter.
They’d started the season well with a 3-2 victory over Millwall and a 1-0 win at Walsall in the League Cup.
But they lost to Sheffield United, Walsall and Oxford, all by a 2-1 scoreline, then came the drubbing at Exeter.
So to stop that slide was a big relief for North End boss Gordon Lee.
PNE took the lead in the 12th minute. A cross from John Kelly was flicked on by Graham Houston and Bell knocked the ball home from close range.
Rovers were level within 60 seconds, Barrett finding the net.
North End goalkeeper Peter Litchfield claimed he had been fouled and his protests saw him booked.
Elliott restored the hosts’ advantage a minute before half-time.
He headed home after Alan Gowling had nodded on Bell’s corner.
It was another short-lived lead, Rovers levelling three minutes into the second half through Williams.
North End pushed for a third goal but despite creating a few chances, could not breach the visitors’ defence.
Manager Lee was pleased to stop the rot in terms of defeats but was again left to rue poor defending.
Lee said: “We are scoring goals but we are conceding too many, whatever formation I use.
“We gave away two silly ones here and played no better than we had in our previous home league game against Oxford which we lost 2-1.
“We played better than we did at Exeter in the last away game but I was not happy – I don’t like conceding all these goals.”
Three days later, Lee did get his wish of a clean sheet when North End won 3-0 against Wrexham at Deepdale.
PNE: Litchfield, Westwell, O’Riordan, Gowling, McAteer, Walsh, Kelly, Bell, Naughton (Coleman), Houston, Elliott.
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here