Men's Team

City v Preston: Memorable encounters

A look back at some of our recent clashes with Preston North End head of our pre-season friendly…

Manchester City welcome the Lilywhites to the Academy Stadium on Tuesday 27 July with kick-off scheduled for 19:00 (UK), with the match available to watch live with a City+ subscription.


Our first clash with North End came in January 1897, with our opponents coming out on top in an FA Cup encounter, while we emerged victorious in our first league match two years later.

After regularly locking horns over the new few decades, a goalless draw at Maine Road in January 1966 would represent our last match against Preston for over 30 years, with City promoted to the top flight at the end of that season.

We would face the Lilywhites once again during our brief venture into the third tier in the 1998-99 season and, from that point, we've faced Tuesday’s opponents sporadically across league and cup competitions.

Take a trip down memory lane by recalling some of the more memorable clashes with Preston from our recent past…

Preston 0-3 City: September 2019

A third round victory at Deepdale in September 2019 helped us on our way to a third successive Carabao Cup triumph.

City were in front inside 20 minutes courtesy of an impressive solo effort from Raheem Sterling, who picked up play on the half-way line and shrugged off the attentions of Darnell Fisher before finishing past Connor Ripley.

Sterling turned provider 15 minutes later, feeding in Gabriel Jesus down the left-hand-side of the box, with the Brazilian clinically doubling our lead with a low finish into the far corner.


And the scoring was completed before the break when David Silva’s cutback following a typically sumptuous City move was inadvertently deflected into the Preston net by Ryan Ledson.

While Pep Guardiola has always taken the League Cup seriously, as proven by our imperious record with the Catalan at the helm, he’s also used the competition as an opportunity to provide several of our youngsters with a vital taste of first team action.

On this occasion, it was highly-rated defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis who was given his senior bow at just 17-years-old in our convincing and deserved 3-0 win.

Preston 1-3 City: February 2007

A different competition, but with a similar outcome, as City came away from Deepdale having booked a spot in the 2006-07 FA Cup quarter-finals.

It was far from plain sailing though with Preston, managed by former City winger Paul Simpson, taking an early lead when David Nugent pounced inside the area from a corner to grab the opener one month before his solitary England cap.

Stuart Pearce’s side rallied after the setback and were level before the break when Michael Ball’s volley found the net after Bernardo Corradi’s spectacular effort on the turn had come crashing back off the woodwork.

It would take until the 85th minute for City to get our noses in front, Georgios Samaras’ scrambled effort inside the area ricocheting into the net off the unfortunate Matt Hill.

But there was nothing fortuitous about our third, with Stephen Ireland rifling home the game’s final goal in style from the edge of the area when he diverted a sweetly struck left-footed volley into the bottom corner.

City 3-2 Preston: February 2002

A vital win at Maine Road en route to an immediate return to the top flight.

City went into our Division One clash keen to ensure defeat to Wimbledon seven days prior wouldn’t derail our promotion prospects, but we found ourselves behind early in the second half when Jon Macken raced onto Rob Edwards’ ball in behind and finished coolly past Nicky Weaver.

However, Kevin Keegan’s side responded defiantly, with Shaun Wright-Phillips’ acrobatic volley and Steve Howey’s close-range finish hauling us into the lead before the hour.

Paulo Wanchope would add a third with a thunderbolt in off the bar having been threaded through by Eyal Berkovic with 15 to play, before Iain Anderson chipped in for the visitors to make it a nervy finish at Maine Road.

But City would hold on and only taste defeat on one further occasion en route to the Division One title, finishing with an emphatic 99 points and 108 goals to our name.

Preston 2-1 City: October 2001

A goal to remember from a future City forward was enough for Preston to take all three points at Deepdale in October 2001.

Kevin Keegan’s side had seen Darren Huckerby’s first-half strike cancelled out by David Healy soon after the restart, and the game’s eventual winner would arrive in the 67th minute.

A City goalkick was cleared by the Preston defence, with the ball eventually landing into the path of Macken.

Chesting the ball down into his path, the forward rifled an exquisite volley into the top corner of the City net from all of 40 yards and beyond the despairing dive of the rapidly retreating Nicky Weaver.

Macken would sign for City four months later, memorably grabbing the winner in our unprecedented 4-3 triumph in the FA Cup against Tottenham in 2004, when Kevin Keegan's side had been three down at half-time.

Preston 1-1 City: April 1999

A crucial point against a promotion rival in our memorable 1998-99 play-off winning campaign.

Despite coming into the game off the back of a four-match winning run, Joe Royle’s side got off to the worst possible start when Steve Basham headed the hosts in front inside 60 seconds.

However, as we would famously demonstrate just over one month later, this City side never knew when they were beaten and we responded soon after.


Good work from Gareth Taylor and Kevin Horlock down the left eventually saw the ball squirm into the path of the onrushing Michael Brown just after the 20-minute mark.

The midfielder smacked an effort towards goal from the edge of the box, with a favourable deflection wrong-footing David Lucas in the Preston net.

City would finish three points and two places above the Lilywhites at the end of the season, before gaining promotion in the most dramatic of circumstances against Gillingham at Wembley.