Match report: Blackburn 2 PNE 2

Aiden McGeady struck in the 93rd minute to earn Preston North End a draw in their derby clash with Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Saturday, 18th March 2017, 2:12 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:13 am
Aiden McGeady hits PNE's stoppage-time equaliser

The equaliser came as the Lilywhites launched one last attack as they chased something from a game in which they had for a long spell been second best.

Substitute Paul Gallagher slid a pass into the box, Tom Clarke squared it into the path of McGeady and the Republic of Ireland international shot home from 10 yards.

North End had taken an early lead through Tom Barkhuizen, that his fifth goal in four games.

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Tom Barkhuizen gives PNE the lead

They failed to capitalise on the goal though, Rovers playing their way into the game and going on to boss large parts.

Elliott Bennett drew them level two minutes before half-time with a shot from 25 yards, then Craig Conway put the home side ahead in the 56th minute.

At times it looked hard work for PNE as they struggled to get a foothold, however Gallagher's introduction with quarter of an hour left gave them a different outlook.

It was appropriate that he had a hand in the equaliser and up popped McGeady with his fifth goal in North End colours to earn what could prove to be a vital point in the final shake-up

Jordan Hugill in the thick of the action

Simon Grayson had named an unchanged starting XI, with Gallagher returning to the bench after a knee injury to replace Stevie May.

The opening exchanges were lively in the rain and after a couple of openings at both ends, North End took a 13th minute lead.

Barkhuizen played the ball in to Hugill just outside the box, the striker controlling it and cushioning a pass through to release Barkhuizen on goal.

The in-form striker took a touch before firing into the roof of the net, goalkeeper Jason Steele getting a glove to the shot but unable to keep it out.

PNE fans in the Darwen End

McGeady sent a volley over the bar a couple of minutes later after a Daryl Horgan corner had been headed out into his path.

A shot from Jordan Hugill deflected off a Blackburn defender and bounced through to Steele.

Rovers began to work their way into the game, Lucas Joaa putting a header into Chris Maxwell's gloves from close range after meeting a Bennett cross.

In the 26th minute, Horgan's free-kick into the box found Tom Clarke beyond the far post, the skipper heading the ball back into the six-yard box which Charlie Mulgrew kicked clear.

Tom Barkhuizen gives PNE the lead

Chances came and went at both ends, Joao shooting too high from 25 yards while McGeady lifted a free-kick over the wall but over the bar too.

There was a let-off for North End with 38 minutes gone, Derrick Williams' cross from the left corner of the box met by Joao who headed against the post from six yards.

Two minutes before half-time, Rovers equalised as they made their pressure count.

Bennett got the ball 30 yards out, slipped past a challenge before finding the bottom corner with a fine finish.

Less than two minutes into the second half, Horgan's fast run took him down the right-wing, his cross finding Barkhuizen at the back post who ballooned a first-time shot high over the bar.

McGeady's cross from out of the left hand touchline travelled across the six-yard box without Hugill and Barkhuizen able to get a touch.

Jordan Hugill in the thick of the action

Blackburn took the lead in the 56th minute, Bennett cutting inside from the right-wing and finding Emnes with a pass just outside the box.

Emnes turned and slipped a pass between North End's centre-backs, Conway taking a touch before slipping a shot past Maxwell as he came off his line.

Just after the goal, Emnes drove an angled shot over the bar as the home side looked to ram home their advantage.

Callum Robinson joined the action for Horgan in the 67th minute, Gallagher and Simon Makienok joining him as the minutes went by

North End started to get more of a grip as the contest entered its the final stages, a low shot from Gallagher blocked in the six-yard box in the 82nd minutes.

Paul Huntington had the ball in the net in the 90th minute, heading home from a Gallagher cross but the flag went up for offside against him.

That was not to prove the last hurrah though, as PNE got their equaliser.

Barkhuizen got possession down the right channel and played the ball inside to Gallagher who's pass found Clarke inside the box.

The skipper pulled the ball back into the path of McGeady who took a touch before firing home in front of the 6,005 PNE fans massed in the Darwen End.

Blackburn: Steele, Nyambie, Mulgrew, Lenihan, Williams, Bennett (Mahoney 75), Lowe, Gutherie, Conway (Feeney 79), Emnes (Gallagher 79), Joao. Subs (not used): Hoban, Feeney, Akpan, Brown, Raya.

PNE: Maxwell, Clarke, Huntington, Boyle, Cunningham, Horgan (Robinson 67) Pearson, Johnson (Gallagher 75), McGeady, Barkhuizen, Hugill (Makienok 77). Subs (not used): Browne, Beckford, Spurr, Lindegaard.

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

Attendance: 18,435 (6,005 PNE)

PNE fans in the Darwen End