Match 11
6th October 1990
Preston North End (away)


Following defeat at Huddersfield on the previous Tuesday, Terry Cooper dropped strikers Steve Neville and Gordon Hobson from his thirteen man squad, choosing to start with Richard Young and Ben Rowe as his front two. Brian McDermott and Clive Whitehead were also both unavailable through illness, so Tom Kelly and Jonathon Brown started their first games of the season.

With a howling wind and rain lashing down, Preston's plastic pitch was made even more treacherous, resulting in the opening stages being a somewhat scrappy affair. City's defenders were rightly taking no chances, often preferring to clear into touch rather than attempting any fancy footwork on the difficult surface, and for all their possession the home side created very little in front of goal.

Richard Young got himself into dangerous positions on a couple of occasions early on, but both times his efforts were comfortably dealt with by Preston keeper Farnworth. Preston were restricted to shooting from distance, twice going close with good efforts and driving into the City wall with both attempts of a twice taken free-kick on the edge of the box.

The first corner of the game was awarded to City after half an hour, with Shaun Taylor winning the ball in the air but being penalised for pushing, and the game's first real save came a couple of minutes later with Kevin Miller turning a rasping drive over the bar. However, City have twice conceded goals shortly before half time on our travels, and after Johnson's goal for Notts County and Bailey's for Birmingham, lan Bogey made it a hat-trick of slip ups before the break, running through unchallenged to beat Miller and give his side a 44th minute lead.

The first fifteen minutes of the second half were as scrappy as the first, with the players experiencing real difficulty in getting their game together on the awkward pitch. However, the introduction of Paul Eshelby in place of Ben Rowe after 63 minutes sparked some life into City's forward line, with a hesitant Preston defence twice giving away corners with inaccurate back passes.

In the final quarter of an hour, Danny Bailey joined the attack to hit a testing shot from the edge of the area, and Richard Young missed a chance to level the scores when the ball broke to him at the far post. Paul Eshelby's touch looked very assured on the difficult surface, and he created a number of promising chances, linking with Scott Hiley in a classy move which unfortunately came to nothing.

However, City's last, and best, real effort came from a quickly taken Mark Cooper free kick, which had the keeper beaten but dipped onto the crossbar when a spectacular equaliser looked likely. That effort pretty much summed up City's day, plenty of effort and industry, but no reward at the end of it all.



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