When King Arthur ruled Deepdale
Looking back to 2004/2005, our away fixture with the Lilywhites provided one of the biggest talking points of the season. Whitley Bay’s very own Graham Laws made a quite diabolical decision by awarding Preston a penalty in the second half. Penalty kicks awarded against your side are hard to take at any time, but on this one particular occasion, Laws deservedly had the away fans on his back for the remaining minutes of the game.
U.S.A’s Eddie Lewis had been allowed space to pass Lee Roche after being found free on the left hand side. The Burnley right back tried to shepherd Lewis out of play, as he had appeared to overrun the ball slightly. Although there was contact between the players, Lewis going to ground several feet over the goal line should not have resulted with a spot kick. In what was a very poor game of football, it was Scotland’s Graham Alexander who separated the teams with a very well executed penalty.
Burnley clearly lacked a cutting edge up front, so it was yet more frustrating that our new signing, Ade Akinbiyi was unable to take part in the game. He would have to wait until our next league game, against Sunderland, to make his first appearance in a claret and blue shirt - and we all know what happened in that game.
December 2003 provided a real low point as far as away day trips to Deepdale are concerned. The Clarets scored three times in the game, equalising on each occasion, with goals from Ian Moore, Arthur Gnohere and Robbie Blake. However, a very well taken hat trick by the often criticised Ricardo Fuller, along with goals from David Healy and Eddie Lewis, saw Preston take all three points from a game that Brian Jensen would surely like to forget in the Burnley goal.
After Mike Dean had brought proceedings to an end, it was almost immediately reported on local radio that Stan Ternent had left his post as Burnley manager. Of course he hadn’t, but it just summed up a truly bizarre afternoon of football. Interestingly, four of the goal scorers from that particular match (Healy, Lewis, Blake and Moore) now earn a living at Leeds United.
The second half was also a lively affair, but provided just one more goal and it was well worth the wait. From a Burnley throw, Arthur Gnohere picked the ball up just inside the Preston half and proceeded on one of his typically direct attacking surges. Beating a Lilywhite defender on the edge of the box, Arthur played a lovely one-two with Alan Moore, which left him in plenty of space to stoke the ball underneath the frame of PNE keeper David Lucas. It was a special winner in a special game; our Ivory Coast centre half was now King Arthur!
That had been the first league win at Deepdale since the days of Chris Waddle and it was 3-2 on that occasion as well. Needless to say we fell behind to a Kurt Nogan goal and that was the score at half time. Then Andy Payton, with his fourth goal in six games since signing from Huddersfield, brought us level just after half time and Andy Cooke scored to give us the lead almost on the hour.
Although Preston did equalise we won it deep into stoppage time with a goal from Neil Moore in front of the building site that was to become the Bill Shankly Kop.
Almost four years since that last Arthur Gnohere inspired day, about time we collected ourselves another Deepdale win.