Full-time: MK Dons 0 PNE 0

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Josh Brownhill nearly sealed a late victory for Preston North End at the stadiummk as they drew 0-0 with MK Dons.

Neil Kilkenny’s precision pass teed Bownhill up on the edge of the area but the on-running 18-year-old substitute curled his first time shot over the bar in the 89th minute.

Preston North End Manager Simon Grayson

Preston North End Manager Simon Grayson

PNE created numerous chances but it was former builder Jack King who popped up to save the day with a superb goal line clearance.

Daniel Powell should have opened the scoring for the Dons on the hour after out-foxing PNE goalkeeper Declan Rudd and weaving his way past the defence on the edge of the box. But Powell’s fierce shot towards an empty net was blocked on the line as a recovering King headed the ball away from danger.

Simon Grayson made two changes to the starting XI that drew 1-1 with Leyton Orient on Saturday.

King returned to the side in place of Paul Gallagher who dropped to the bench.

And Kevin Davies replaced his namesake Craig who was feeling the effects of a tight hamstring.

In the seventh minute 7,279 spectators at the stadiummk joined in a round of applause in memory of Preston North End legend Sir Tom Finney who died aged 91 on Friday.

PNE were straight out of the blocks as Scott Laird roamed into space from the left-hand side. But he smacked an effort over the bar from 25-yards out in the second minute.

Rudd stopped MK Dons from seizing the lead in the tenth minute - Ben Reeves fed in Powell but PNE’s keeper managed to deflect the ball away from goal with his foot.

King made his presence felt in the opposition box as his header looped over the bar in the 13th minute.

Tom Clarke picked Scott Wiseman out on the right-hand side with a sublime ball. But Keith Keane could not capitalise as Wiseman cut the ball back to the top of the box in the 25th minute.

Joe Garner set Laird through on the left in the 29th minute and the defender drove into the box but his shot was blocked.

Garner connected with a Kilkenny corner in the 33rd minute, heading the ball down into the ground but Dons keeper David Martin was on hand to tip the bouncing ball out for another PNE corner.

And Garner was in the action yet again as he challenged for an aerial ball with Martin. The keeper spilled the ball and Garner looked to pounce, but referee Mark Heywood blew for a foul in the 38th minute.

In the 40th minute Laird crossed from the left but Garner could not direct his powerful header on target as it flew past the keepers left-hand post.

John Welsh surprised the keeper in the 47th minute as Martin was forced to tip the ball over the bar from the captains sweet strike.

And only a minute later Welsh was on the ball again but his first time shot from 25-yards out flew way wide of Martin’s right-hand post.

Kilkenny fizzed a fierce free-kick from just outside the penalty area that fell agonizingly wide of the right-hand post. Kevin Davies flung himself towards the ball at the back post but he could not touch the ball over as it flew out for a goal kick.

And in the 51st minute PNE nearly dented the scoreline. Laird crossed to Keane and his shot from 12-yards out stung the right-hand post before spinning backm out wide into open play.

Welsh attempted the spectacular in the 60th minute as he latched onto the rebound from a Kilkenny free-kick just outside the box. But the captain’s volley flew way over the bar into the 516 travelling PNE fans.

Powell beat Rudd in the 62nd minute as he wove his way past North End’s keeper - who had come to greet him on the edge of the box - and several North End defenders. Powell teased his way into the area but his powerful shot was headed off the line by the recovering King.

And Rudd managed to palm away Dean Lewington’s header from the subsequent corner.

Laird roamed forward and muscled his way past substitute George Baldock. Laird appeared to falter from Baldock’s challenge but continued his run and sliced an effort just wide of the left-hand post in the 63rd minute.

But MK Dons upped the tempo as Izale McLeod drove down the left-hand side before teeing up Reeves. Reeves’ shot from six-yards out was smothered by Rudd as PNE absorbed the pressure.

Josh Brownhill dribbled his way into the opposition box but the substitute could not pick out a yellow shirt in the box as his teasing cross from the byline fell to a Dons defender in the six-yard box.

Australia international Kilkenny picked put Brownhill in the 89th minute, but the substitute could not snatch the victory as he smashed a shot over the bar

Clarke and Alan Smith were booked for locking horns, they came together after Clarke fouled the former Manchester United player and Kilkenny also found himself in the book for speaking out of turn to the referee in the closing stages.

PNE: Rudd, Keane (Brownhill, 73), Laird, Clarke, Wright, K Davies (Beavon, 73), Garner, Welsh, King, Wiseman (Humphrey, 57), Kilkenny. Subs: Stuckmann, Gallagher, Buchanan, Hume.

MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Hodson (Smith, 45), Gleeson, Reeves, McLeod, Alli, Powell, Carruthers (Baldock, 12), Spence, Kay. Subs: McLoughlin, Chadwick, Rasulo, Hall, Hickford.

Referee: Mark Haywood (Cheshire)

Attendance, 7,279 (PNE, 516).