2022/23 – Preston North End 1 v 1 Luton Town

Deepdale, EFL Championship, 15/2/23

Me 266

Founded – 1880

Nickname – PNE, The Lillywhites

HonoursFA Cup – 1888/89 and 1937/38. First Division – 1888/89 and 1889/90. Second Division – 1903/04, 1912/13 and 1950/51. Third Division – 1970/71 and 1999/00. Fourth Division – 1995/96

Random Fact – Deepdale is modeled on Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa. The ground top of my list to visit in world football

As I was in the north west of England I thought it would be rude not take a trip to take this night on. Not for the fitba but to meet someone I have now spoken to for years, submitted articles to and even posted a bottle of gin to him. More importantly though, he took the time to proof read my book . As I was not far away we arranged to meet. A great night it was too.

To Preston I went, a town famous for Harold Shipman being prosecuted in the court there, Jimmy White being busted with coke and Mark bloody Lawrenson and his thatched roof like hair being born there. But after a wee but informative history and sight seeing tour with Peter I learned a lot about it as a place and also the links Peter has there in regard to family despite being a well travelled army kid turned Livingstonian Aberdeen fan. He talked through different points of interest (Cenotaph, Guild Hall the Harris, Preston Minster where Tom Finney’s funeral was as some examples) . He also told me that in Charles Dickens book Hard Times, the fictional “Coketown” is in fact supposed to be Preston. There was also the final battle of the English Civil being fought and won there by the New Model Army (the actual army and not the quality band) in 1648. There was more too before leading me to the highlight, the Wallace and Gromit bench where me being the big child I am got my photo taken on it. Throughout the tour it was also good to hear his family links to Preston too, from grandparents old houses, birthplaces and even local boozers. A great start to the night.

As we headed closer to the glow of the lights up Deepdale Road towards the home of the first ever league winners I became awestruck when the floodlights popped their head above the houses. What a sight. As mentioned the ground is based on the home of Sampdoria and Genoa including floodlights. I already loved the place and I hadn’t even crossed the thresh hold. As we reached the ground the first thing was to get a photo of the Tom Finney “splash” statue. This being one day after the 9th anniversary of his death. (A minutes applause was held during the game). The only blot on the PNE copybook for the night was the lack of scarves in the club shop. They had sold out when Tottenham played a few weeks back and the new stock was on its way. (I cheated and Ebayed a scarf instead). As kick off was fast approaching there was no food or pints and just straight to our seats. As we made our way up from the concourse I was enamoured by the place. Its a tidy ground(even with the Invincibles Pavilion on the wing being incomplete). Given it started being renovated in 1995 it must have been ahead of its time at the time. One thing I did think. It has a Tynecastle feel to it. There are definite similarities to the two grounds. However there are no stunning floodlights in Edinburgh. Would the game live up to the night so far…..

Not really would be the answer. It was a strange game where the quality lacked at times across the park, but especially in front of goal. This game could have and should have been well over the five goal total mark. Preston had more of the ball in the first half but Luton had the chances. The first chance fell to Elijah Adebayo , if you could call it a chance. It was more like a miss hit cross that tested (ex Aberdeen loanee) Freddy Woodman. The rebound fell to Jordan Clark who had his effort blocked then the follow up cleared off the line by Fernandez. Adebayo had another solid chance after taking a brilliant touch on the chest to set himself up at the edge of the box but he opted to smash it rather than use a bit of placement, this sending the ball wide. Luton were again to throw away another good chance when Amari’i Bell missed an absolute sitter when he curled an effort wide from inside the box. Luton were very much in control of the game going into the half. That man Adebayo missed another couple of chance before the 45 were out. How on earth it was goalless though was a mystery.

HT 0 v 0

The game changed almost immediately when the second half started as the hosts were put down to 10 men. From where me and Peter were we both couldn’t work out why it was a red. It looked like a good old fashioned sliding tackle. It also sounded like as if both players hit the ball as the thud echoed round a sparsely populated Deepdale. Ben Whiteman was sent packing but I cant help but think the instantaneous surrounding of the ref by Luton players helped with the decision. Again Luton created chances and again Adebayo missed them. The one time a chance did not fall to the striker it found the head of Carlton Morris who rattled the bar from close range. A goal was coming for the Hatters, surely. PNE had the next chance when Troy Parrot skinned his man and let fly from but he sent it into the side netting. Another big chance spurned. Then on 71 minutes a goal finally did come and it was for the visitors. Bell did very well out wide and swung in the perfect ball to Morris who bulleted a header at goal which went in despite the efforts of the Preston keeper to keep it out. To be noted the Linesman did not give it. A man down and now a goal it didn’t look great for Preston but against the run of play the equalised with around ten minutes to go. This from the penalty spot after Tom Lockyear clearly handled in the box. Troy Parrot stepped up and Troy Parrot scored with venom. A howitzer down the middle which clipped the bar on the way in. Brave penalty but a cracker all the same. Preston defended well for the rest of the match keeping Luton at bay earning them what was given the circumstances a decent point. Not a classic and a far better second half to the first but well worth the visit to this famous old club. A great night in general in great company, topped off with a couple of jars in Hopwoods Tap House where the two dudes behind the bar were very sound and welcoming. As far as my travels go, this was a top away day and a total bonus game too due to being nearby for other reasons.

Luton must be scratching their heads at how they did not win that. I still was when I got back to Aberdeenshire.

Entrance – £28

Attendance – 13,903

Pie – Didnt bother

Pint – Didnt bother

Bonus game at a cracking ground
Stunning scenery
A view from the terrace
The Tom Finney splash
1 v 1 against the run of play
The unfinished stand
Any city paying tribute to Wallace and Gromit is good in my book

Published by pacman1903

Once a football fan. Now a football nerd

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