Preston's Wembley win the highlight of John Welsh's career

Three years ago today Preston buried their play-off hoodoo in some style at Wembley.

Thursday, 24th May 2018, 7:30 am
Updated Saturday, 26th May 2018, 4:54 pm
John Welsh and Tom Clarke lift the League One play-off trophy after Preston's win over Swindon at Wembley

The Lilywhites demolished Swindon 4-0 – their first success in the play-offs at the 10th attempt.

For John Welsh, the win and subsequent celebrations still rank as the highlight of his career.

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He was a driving force in PNE’s midfield that day, his crunching tackle on Nathan Byrne before the second goal a pivotal moment. So good was the knees-up afterwards that it was 8.30 the next morning that he walked through his front door!

Welsh said: “We had the disappointment of losing against Colchester, which cost us automatic promotion.

“We got our mojo back after the first leg of the semi-finals and the mood was that we were going to win the play-offs.

“Wembley was superb, the highlight of my whole career. People talk to me about the tackle in the build-up to the second goal.

“I’m a couple of yards slower than Nathan Byrne and the only way I was going to get to the ball was to slide in.

“There was no way on earth I was going to lose that tackle.

“A memory for me was when Jermaine Beckford for our fourth goal.

“Joe Garner won a tackle in midfield and stayed down on the floor as Jermaine ran clear on goal – I just jumped on top of Joe when it hit the net.

“Afterwards I was one of the first back to the dressing room, not realising the lads had stayed out longer.

“I was stood in the shower with a bottle of Bud wondering where everyone was.”

The celebrations went on long until the next morning.

Welsh said: “The bus got us home to Preston and dropped us outside Baluga.

“I was still town at 6.30am with Joe Garner, Paul Gallagher’s dad and Stevie Watson from the press office.

"I ended up getting a taxi back to Liverpool and walked into my house at 8.30am!”