When Preston North End won five games in a row under caretaker manager Jonathan Clark in the re-election season

Preston North End’s victory over Wrexham at Deepdale in March 1986 came during a purple patch in what was otherwise a terrible season.

Monday, 15th June 2020, 3:16 pm
Updated Monday, 15th June 2020, 3:18 pm
Preston striker John Thomas has a shot in the 1-0 win over Wrexham in March 1986 at Deepdale

Between March 22 and April 4, the Lilywhites won five matches in a row. When you consider they won only 11 league games all season, that was some going.

It was Jonathan Clark who oversaw five-in-a-row as caretaker manager.

The midfielder, who was out of action due to injury at the time, had been asked to take the team when Brian Kidd resigned as manager on the eve of the March 22 clash with Southend.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Vernon Allatt leads a Preston attack against Wrexham

Kidd had only been in post since January when he stepped-up to replace Tommy Booth who had quit.

Somehow, Clark really galvanised a Preston team struggling at the bottom end of the Fourth Division.

For a little while, fans got a glimmer of hope that North End might even avoid the indignity of having to apply for re-election.

PNE beat Southend 3-2 at Deepdale, then went to Tranmere and won by the same scoreline.

PNE defender Simon Gibson is carried off the pitch in the game against Wrexham, watched by John Thomas and Vernon Allatt

Then came another 3-2 victory, against Mansfield at Field Mill, that followed-up by the win over Wrexham.

The fifth win was a 3-1 success at Scunthorpe, 15 points from 15 available.

Unfortunately, North End couldn’t keep the run going and the final five games saw two draws and three defeats.

Credit to Clark though, not too many PNE managers or caretakers down the years could boast such a good start.

PNE midfielder Terry Gray challenges Wrexham goalkeeper Don Ferguson

The win over Wrexham attracted the second highest crowd of the season to Deepdale – 5,195.

It was bettered only by Burnley’s visit in the early weeks of the campaign, with 5,588 in attendance for that.

A goal of real quality settled this Tuesday night battle with Wrexham.

It came from John Thomas, his fifth goal in four games – he added two more to his tally in the game after at Scunthorpe.

PNE caretaker manager Jonathan Clark oversaw five wins on the bounce after taking charge at Deepdale

With 53 minutes played, Thomas got the ball 20 yards out with his back to goal.

He twisted and turned past a challenge from Wrexham defender Jack Keay and although off balance, managed to curl a beauty of a finish into the far corner of the net.

It was a goal worthy of winning any game and saw PNE rewarded after they had bossed the game to that point.

The home side had created a number of chances before Thomas struck, only to be denied time after time by Wrexham goalkeeper Don Ferguson.

He saved three times from Thomas in the first half, while also thrwating Gary Brazil , Andy McAteer and Vernon Allatt.

At the other end of the pitch, there was a first clean sheet for Alan Kelly since making his debut at the beginning of March.

He made a fine save from Steve Charles during the second half as PNE defended their lead well.

They had lost centre-half Simon Gibson to injury just before half-time but remained solid.

PNE: Kelly, Atkins, Gibson (Welsh 44), Martin, McAteer, Foster, Rudge, Gray, Brazil, Allatt, Thomas.

Attendance: 5,195