Tranmere Rovers 1 Preston North End 1

Preston North End's Manager Graham Westley

Preston North End's Manager Graham Westley

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Preston North End had two penalty appeals rejected in the first half of their clash with Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park.

Paul Huntington’s header five minutes into the second half gave the Lilywhites the lead.

It was an advantage they held until the 85th minute when Rovers top scorer Jake Cassidy escaped the shackles of the North End defence to fire a leveller past Steve Simonsen.

North End will look back at two first-half penalty appeals which were turned down, while Jack King should have finished the game off in the 70th minute when put clear on goal but shot wide.

And until Cassidy’s late strike, they had limited Rovers to few worthwhile chances in the second half.

Graham Westley had named an unchanged side and bench.

The PNE side included three former Tranmere players, with skipper John Welsh, Steven Simonsen and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff lining up against their former employers.

But David Buchanan didn’t recover from injury in time to make that a quartet, his spell on the sidelines stretching to a fifth game.

In the 20th minute, a curling cross from Abdulai Bell-Baggie looked to be creeping in at the far post until Simonsen dived to turn it against the post and behind for a corner.

A Jeffrey Monakana cross from the right-wing hit Stuart Beavon on the chest and bounced wide at the near post.

Twice North End appealed strongly for penalties in the closing 10 minutes of the half.

In the 35th minute, Scott Laird’s shot on the left side of the box was blocked by keeper Owian Fon Williams as he rushed off his line.

As the loose ball dropped in the six-yard box, Beavon moved to meet it but got a kick in the head from Ash Taylor, the striker needing the resulting wound bandaged up.

Beavon forced Fon Williams into a diving save with a shot from outside the box after evading a couple of challenges as he cut across the Tranmere back four.

The second appeal again involved Beavon, his 42nd minute header from Huntington’s cross clearly blocked on the line by a Tranmere hand, but after looking across to his assistant, referee Phil Gibbs waved play on.

A minute into the second half, Beavon stung the gloves of Fon Williams with a 25-yard drive.

North End broke the deadlock in the 50th minute, a clearance out of the Tranmere box falling to Monakana on the right.

His cross-cum-shot deceived the keeper and bounced against the bar, Huntington following up to head into the net from six yards.

In the 62nd minute, Laird’s angled drive from distance travelled inches past the far post with Fon Williams scrambling across goal to try and reach it.

The visitors should have doubled the lead with 70 minutes on the clock, Wroe wriggling clear between two defenders before squaring the ball to King.

It left the front man with a clear run on goal but with only Fon Williams to beat, he shot wide of the target from just inside the box.

Tranmere had the ball in the PNE net in the 74th minute, but Cassidy’s header from Bell-Baggie was ruled out after the flag went up for offside.

Four minutes later, King and Wroe linked-up to play Laird clear on the left-wing.

He pulled back a low cross to the near post where Beavon turned sharply and fired in a shot which Fon Williams dived to palm away superbly.

Tranmere levelled into the 85th minute, James Wallace’s pass feeding Cassidy to the left of goal, the Wolves loanee finishing with a low shot past Simonsen.

Tranmere: Fon Williams, Holmes, Palmer, Taylor, Bakayogo, Bell-Baggie, Wallace, Palmer, McGurk (Stockton 61), Eccleston (Thompson 80), Cassidy. Unused subs: Black, Goodison, Harrison, Kay, Mooney.

PNE: Simonsen, Keane, Huntington, Robertson, Cansdell-Sherriff, Monakana (Byrom 79), Wroe, Welsh, Laird, King, Beavon. Unused subs: Amoo, Cummins, Sodje, Procter, Beardsley, Stuckmann.

Referee: Phil Gibbs (Birmingham)

Attendance: 7,732