FA Cup Best Worst Average Neutral 1937/38 = 93,357* 1921/22 = 53,710** 73,534 League Cup Home 1965/66 = 9,774 1978/79 = 3,435 6,605 Away 1978/79 = 6,841 Lower Div Cup Home 1993/94 = 1,379 Away Neutral
Stamford Bridge **, Wembley*
Preston is a very old club, formed in some 20 years before Town came into existence. Town has a long history of games against Preston. Since the most famous were the two Cup Finals I shall deal with Cup competitions first.
The first Cup Final was in 1922 at Stamford Bridge when Town won 1-0 thanks to a Billy Smith penalty. The route to the final had been hard for Town involving replays in rounds 1, 2 and 3 before winning round 4 and the semi final at the first attempt. The sides next met in February 1932 at Leeds Road in a fifth round tie won convincingly 4-0 (Ward F (OG), Mangnall (2) and Luke scoring in front of a crowd of 44,291. Next came the 1938 Cup Final when the 1922 result was reversed and Preston won with a disputed penalty at the end of extra time. The dispute was not about the foul but rather the position of the foul. Having watched a clip of the incident I am not convinced that it was actually inside the area, it appeared to have occurred just outside. The last FA Cup meeting was in Round 4 at Deepdale in Round 4 on 27th January 1951 when Town won yet again, this time 2-0 (Metcalfe(P), Taylor) A good crowd of 39,552 turned up to watch.
In the League Cup the Lilywhite have been in control, winning 1-0 at Leeds Road in Round 3 on 13th October 1965 and again in August 1978 at Deepdale in Round 1 on 12th August by 3-0 and in the second leg Town could manage only a 2-2 draw with Holmes(P) and Ripley scoring for Town..
The only Lower Divisions meeting was in 1993/94 when the game was drawn 0-0 at Leeds Road in Round 2 but Town won 5-3 on penalties to proceed, eventually losing on penalties to Swansea in the Final at Wembley.
The league games began in 1912/13. On 13th October the first game took place at Leeds Road (est9,000 gate) where Elliott scored for Town in a 1-1 draw. At Deepdale the Lilywhites won that 2-1 with Elliott scoring for Town once again. North End was promoted as champions that season. Town actually had a home record identical to that of Preston with a much better goal average but the side was woeful away losing 11 of 19 games and finishing 5th. North End was a yo-yo team at this time dropping back after only one season only to bounce up again, in second place, in 1914/15. Town drew at Deepdale on opening day, note the date – 5th September – 1-1 (Islip) with an estimated 10,000 gate. The return match ended up 3-1 for Town (Shields(P), Mann and Fayers) on 2nd January watched by about 7,500.
When Town won promotion in May 1920 there began a 5 season series, until the Lilywhites were once more relegated. This series saw Town win all 5 home games without conceding a goal (1-0, 6-0, 2-0, 4-0 and 1-0) at the same time earning three “doubles” with wins in 1920/21 1-0, 1923/24 3-1 and 1924/25 4-1. Town drew the away league match in 1921/22 1-1 and the only defeat came in 1922/23 when the side went down 0-1.
Preston returned to the top flight beginning in 1934/35 and this led to an eight year series, interrupted by WW2 with the edge going to Preston who won “doubles” in 1934/35 (3-4, 0-2), and 1948/49 (0-2, 0-2). Town’s next “double” came in 1948/49 1-0, 2-0.
After two seasons in Division 2 Preston came up in 1951/52 and saw Town relegated for the first time ever at the end of the season having outscored Town by winning 5-2 at Deepdale but losing 0-2 at Leeds Road.
Town’s 3 year return to Division 1 in the mid 1950s saw a strange set of results where Town prospered away but struggled at home. In order from 1953/54 through 1955/56 the scores, Leeds Road first, were 2-2, 2-1, then 0-4, 3-2 and finally 2-2, 2-1. Thus began Town’s 14 year sojourn in Division 2 where Preston joined them for the last 9 years which has been the longest continual sequence to date. Town never lost both games but managed to win both games in 1966/67 1-0, 2-1 and in the promotion year of 1969/70 by 3-2 and 3-1 both games coming in 1969.
There were only four games in the 1970s. In Division 2 both games ended 0-0 in 1972/73 and Preston won both games 1-0 at Leeds Road and 4-0 on their park in 1974/75 as Town completed the Great Slide into Division 4.
The sides met briefly in the early 1980s until Town returned to Division 2 in 1982/83. Town was not very successful in these games failing to win any. In 1981/82 an early season away draw 1-1 was gained but In February the home match was lost 2-3 with Fletcher scoring both goals for Town. In the promotion season both games ended in draws, 0-0 at Deepdale and 1-1 at Leeds Road.
Town fell back into Division 3 at the end of 1987/88 in for 5 seasons the games were played once more. While the blue and whites had a home record of 3-0-2 5-4 the away effort was poor without even one victory 0-2-3 5-8.
The only meetings since both ended up 0-0. In October 2000 at the end of last century Town drew at home and early in this century drew again away in April.
As for gates, the cup games have been detailed above, but in the league there have been both highs and lows. At home the best gate was on Boxing Day 1936 when 33,899 saw Town triumph 4-2 (Richardson, Beasley(2) and Macfadyen). The three games in the mid 50s when Town graced the top flight all the gates were 23/27,000 yet Town did not win any of them. Away at Deepdale the best gate was in 1948/49 at 36,153 where the Lilywhites won 2-0.
At the other end of the scale the worst gates were verging on the abysmal. Only 4,381 bothered to watch Town lose 0-2 at Leeds Road on 3rd April 1990 and the following season only a few more, 4,646, turned out at Deepdale to see the 1-1 draw on 24th November 1990 when Iffy Onoura scored for Town. The last meetings in the Century turning season saw almost average gates of 13,161 at the Galpharm (average 13,304) and at Deepdale 15,185 went (average 16,279
On 22nd October 2011 the sides met for the first time in 11 years at the Galpharm in a top table clash. Town was simply too strong for the visitors and after Rhodes scored on 4 minutes as a result of goalkeeper’s error the result was never really in doubt. He scored again on 42 minutes and completed his second successive hat-trick before the hour mark. Preston got a consolation goal but Town were worthy 3-1 winners.
North End has not fared well of late, winless in 6 and since beating Hartlepool at home in early February (1-0) they have had 5 home draws and a defeat scoring 3 and conceding 5. Based on this record Town should have a good chance of winning. That is all the positives there are, however. Town’s record at Deepdale is poor with slightly less than 24% in wins. Add to this the crap that the players have served up recently and I cannot generate much optimism. I’ll stick my neck out and suggest that Town will earn a point in a 1-1 draw. I hope the lads prove me absolutely wrong and storm to a great win.