PNE retro game - a 1983 FA Cup visit to Leeds

Preston North End's run in the FA Cup came to a halt when they were beaten by Leeds United at Elland Road in January 1983.

Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 6:30 pm
PNE winger Willie Naughton sees an effort tipped over by Leeds keeper Jon Lukic

The Lilywhites had reached the third round thanks to a 5-1 victory over non-league side Shepshed Charterhouse and a 2-1 win against Blackpool – a game which attracted a season’s best crowd of 14,148.

More than 3,000 North End supporters made the trip to Elland Road in the hope of seeing a cup upset, Leeds a level above in the Second Division.

Unfortunately, things did not turn out the way they wanted, although the contest was probably closer than the scoreline might suggest.

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John Lukic gathers a cross ahead of PNE striker Steve Elliott

Two of the Leeds’ goals came in the last 12 minutes, as Preston were caught out trying to find a way back into the game.

PNE manager Gordon Lee had gambled when selecting his team, finding a place for Tommy Booth in the centre of defence, this Booth’s first appearance for more than eight months after a serious injury.

Don O’Riordan moved to right-back to accommodate Booth’s return, but it was a gamble which backfired.

Booth hadn’t played any reserve games to get his match fitness back, and looked rusty.

Preston striker Alex Bruce in action against Leeds in January 1983

Lee would reason that he wanted O’Riordan’s pace at right-back to help deal with Arthur Graham on Leeds’ left-wing.

North End fell behind in the 32nd minute when Booth’s stray pass gave away possession to home striker Aiden Butterworth.

His pass picked out Terry Connor, who in turn played in John Sheridan in the box.

Sheridan’s shot took a touch off Preston centre-half Alan Gowling and deflected past keeper Peter Litchfield.

North End midfielder John Kelly is challenged in the box at Elland Road

The visitors pressed for an equaliser, a mistake by Leeds goalkeeper John Lukic letting in John Kelly down the side of the box.

But his cross failed to find a PNE team-mate and the chance went begging.

In the second half, Willie Naughton lifted a shot over the bar after Lukic had failed to hold a cross.

Graham Houston forced a good save from the keeper, while Kelly saw a shout for a penalty fall on deaf ears.

Steve Elliott, John Kelly and Graham Houston look on as a Leeds defender clears his lines

The game was put beyond North End’s reach when the home side scored twice in the space of two minutes.

In the 78th minute a pass from Leeds player/manager Eddie Gray found Graham, his cross finding Connor, who fired past Litchfield.

Then with 80 minutes on the clock, Graham swapped passes with Connor, before the Scotsman found the net.

That was the move of the match and sealed victory.

One consolation for North End was their share of the gate money from a 16,816 crowd – estimated to be around the £9,000 mark.

PNE boss Lee said: “It was a disappointing result, but we have nothing to be ashamed about.

“We played some really good football and caused Leeds plenty of problems all through the game.”

PNE: Litchfield, O’Riordan, Booth, Gowling, McAteer, Houston (Bell), Walsh, Kelly, Naughton, Bruce, Elliott.

Attendance: 16,816