PNE 1 Coventry City 1 full-time

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson

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Preston North End were denied victory by a Coventry City equaliser six minutes into stoppage time at Deepdale.

Kevin Davies had given the Lilywhites a 53rd minute lead, the goal being Preston’s 7,000th in the Football League.

Davies was later to see red, sent-off in the 88th minute for a two-footed challenge on Sky Blues right-back Cyrus Christie.

It looked like North End’s 10 men had seen out the game, with the fourth official’s board signalling four minutes of time added on.

But six minutes had been played when Franck Moussa hammered a superb leveller into the top corner from 30 yards.

That was the visitors’ only shot on target in the whole contest in which the Coventry strike force had been well marshalled by Bailey Wright and Tom Clarke.

Referee Kevin Wright was booed loudly off the pitch by the PNE supporters, with manager Simon Grayson making representations to the Cambridgeshire official in the dressing room afterwards.

Grayson reported that the referee told him the extra couple of minutes had been added on to take into account a substitution and when the ball was not returned from the crowd quickly for a Coventry throw-in.

There had been six changes made to the North End side by Grayson.

Joe Garner, hat-trick hero from the bench against Ipswich in midweek, was among the half dozen to return to the starting XI.

Also coming in the side were Wright, David Buchanan, Lee Holmes, John Welsh and Scott Wiseman.

Wiseman made his full PNE debut having been a second-half substitute at Wolves last Saturday.

The first half in the main belonged to Preston, save for an early patch of pressure from the visitors which saw John Fleck’s volley from the edge of the box deflect wide.

With seven minutes on the clock, a Holmes cross caught a deflection and bounced on to the head of Paul Gallagher at the far post, Sky Blues centre-half Andy Webster on hand to hook the ball off the line.

Holmes should have done better when Davies’ pass played him in on the right side of the box, the winger driving his shot over the bar.

Soon after, Gallagher’s pass down the left-wing found the feet of Garner, his cross into the box met by Holmes who sent a volley too high.

A 23rd minute free-kick from Leon Clarke - awarded after Wiseman had been booked for a foul on Moussa - bounced into the wall and was cleared.

North End stayed on the front foot, Garner stretching at the near post to met a Holmes cross and poking an effort wide of the target.

Their best chance of the first period came with 33 minutes played, a beautifully weighted through ball from skipper Welsh sending Garner clear in the box.

Garner hit it first time as keeper Joe Murphy dashed off his line to block, the ball appearing to hit Murphy on the top of the head as he went to ground and flying inches over the bar.

As the interval approached, Garner sent a shot from the edge of the box straight at Murphy while Neil Kilkenny drew a diving save out of the visitors keeper.

In the 44th minute, Davies got on the end of a Kilkenny free-kick but headed over from six yards.

Three minutes into the second half, Davies was first to a bouncing ball on the edge of the box which he volleyed over the bar.

But he was on target in the 53rd minute as the goal which Preston had threatened for much of the match finally arrived.

Buchanan burst down the left side and past a couple of challenges before sending a low cross into the box.

There was Davies to meet it 10 yards out and lift a shot over Murphy into the roof of the net.

Coventry came close to an equaliser as the game reached the hour mark, Carl Baker’s corner flicked goalwards by Danny Seaborne with Webster unable to keep his shot from close range down and the ball flew over the bar.

A 66th minute cross-shot from Christie travelled right across the PNE six-yard box and went wide of the far post.

A double substitution saw Keith Keane and Chris Humphrey replace Welsh and Holmes.

Coventry began to get more of a foothold in the game without really threatening the goal.

North End went down to 10 men in the 88th minute, Davies shown a straight red for a challenge on Christie over by the Invincibles Pavilion.

Four minutes of stoppage-time were signalled by the fourth official and it looked like the home side had seen that out successfully.

But bang on six extra minutes having been played, Moussa picked up possession in midfield - was not closed down - and unleashed a stunning shot from 30 yards past Declan Rudd into the top corner.

PNE: Rudd, Wiseman, Clarke, Wright, Buchanan, Holmes (Humphrey 74), Welsh (Keane 74), Kilkenny, Gallagher (King 90), Garner, Davies. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Beavon, Hume, Brownhill.

Coventry: Murphy, Christie, Webster, J Clarke (Daniels 54), Seaborne, Baker (Slager 82), Thomas, Fleck, Adams, Moussa, L Clarke. Subs not used: Burge, Barton, Phillips, Willis, Haynes.

Referee: Kevin Wright (Cambridgeshire)

Attendance: 10,671 (932 from Coventry)