LEICESTER 1 PRESTON 7
A break from the old routine for Preston, as we took part in
a friendly match arranged in support of the Foxes Against Racism
charity. The prize? A whopping great trophy the size of the
bloomin' FA Cup!
And the early omens were good, with a sizable squad of 15 travelling
south in search of the silverware. Even the setback of losing
star defender Andy Cooper prior to kick-off (an ankle injury
sustained by turning round too quickly when someone said "hey,
they've got a bird in their team") couldn't detract from
the fact that we actually had a couple of subs for an away game!
North End lined up with a new central defensive partnership
of Herd and Cick, whilst Chris Brennan and Wild occupied wide
positions. Such was the strength of the squad that we were able
to leave stars such as Chris Reed, Alan McCormick and even Stewart
Black on the bench!
The match started competitively with Leicester City making some
strong challenges and showing that they were going to be a tough
nut to crack. In physical terms the early exchanges were even,
but North End's wealth of talent in the forward positions soon
created a number of chances, with Worthington shooting past
the post and Steve Brennan firing narrowly over the bar from
20 yards after the home side cleared a corner.
The breakthrough came on 12 minutes when WORTHINGTON,
who had been at the centre of all North End's attacking play,
curled the ball neatly past the advancing keeper having been
sent clear by Paul Godkin.
Within a matter of minutes North End were two up when Leicester
failed to clear a Worthington corner and recent signing KEV
was able to fire home decisively from the penalty spot. Five
minutes later, and following a swift couter-attacking move,
it was 3-0 when Steve BRENNAN slotted home with his right
foot after his initial left footed shot had been blocked by
a home defender.
Having conceded three goals in quick succession the home side
where then rocked when their keeper sustained what appeared
by a nasty knee injury. After a long stoppage the valiant goalie
vowed to play through the pain barrier, and he was rewarded
just minutes later when his clearance bounced off Craig WORTHINGTON
and nestled in the back of the net! 4-0 going into half-time,
and we felt we already had one hand on the cup!
As if the four goal lead wasn't enough, Stewart Black's rousing
team-talk and tactical mastery with substitutions sent the visitors
out well fired up for the second period.
After a dreadful first 20 minutes of the second-half (that's
right - 20 minutes!!), Craig Worthington swapped reverted
to centre-midfield with Paul Godkin moving up front. It was
a switch which brought the game to life, as he interchanged
to great effect with Wild, Kev and the front men.
Within a matter of minutes a precise ball had been played up
to Paul Godkin who with one deft touch sent Steve BRENNAN
clear who rifled a low shot into the bottom left corner of the
The goal couldn't have been better timed, with Leicester beginning
to threaten. A back four inspired by the on-form Don Herd, and
marshalled by the vociferous Pete Knowles had been resolute
throughout the game, until an inswinging corner was flicked
on by Chris Reed, who was unfortunate to see his touch loop
the ball over the stranded keeper and into the back of his own
Conceding the goal only inspired Preston though, and in the
dying minutes Paul GODKIN was able to reinstate our five
goal lead by sending a quality cross from Wild looping over
the advancing keeper and under the bar.
As the game drew to a close GODKIN reaffirmed Preston's
superiority by making it 7-1 with seconds on the clock, with
a quick first touch and neat finish from 15 yards after being
played in by a defence-splitting pass.
The match was followed by free beer in the pub, and a trophy
presentation on the pitch at half-time. All-in-all a great day
out, and fingers crossed Leicester will fail to get promoted
and we'll be able to enjoy the same again next season!
Man of the match: Don Herd