Match report: Fleetwood 1 PNE 1

Fleetwood v PNE
Fleetwood v PNE
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Preston North End’s midfield maestro Daniel Johnson scored another gem as PNE drew 1-1 with Fleetwood Town at Highbury.

Paul Gallagher’s free-kick was headed into the path of Johnson on the edge of the box and the former Aston Villa player showed his premier pedigree by sweetly curling the ball past Chris Maxwell.

North End defender Paul Huntington was floored after challenging with keeper Sam Johnstone and Town defender Nathan Pond in the PNE box.

Huntington was down for eight minutes and was brought off on a stretcher in a neck brace and wearing an oxygen mask.

But once back in the dressing room the defender managed to sit up and talk.

Almost immediately after the re-start the Cod Army equalised in style. Substitute David Ball unleashed an unstoppable strike from 25-yards out. PNE keeper Johnstone scrambled back but he could not stop the chip kissing the left post and flying into the top corner.

PNE boss Simon Grayson made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Barnsley last weekend. Jack King and Chris Humphrey came in for Bailey Wright and Callum Robinson who were both unavailable due to international commitments.

Gallagher’s fierce free-kick was headed in to the path of Johnson and he coolly curled the ball past helpless Fleetwood keeper Chris Maxwell in the ninth minute.

Antoni Sarcevic was booked for simulation in the box in the 34th minute.

Moments later Scott Laird’s fierce angled shot from the left fizzed towards goal but Town defender Maxwell made a fine save to tip the ball over the bar.

In first-half stoppage time North End nearly should have made it two as Jermaine Beckford stormed on to Johnson’s pass unmarked at the back post. But the striker scooped the ball straight into Maxwell’s arms.

Tyler Forbes was booked for fouling Gallagher and Joe Garner in the 51st minute. And Gallagher forced Maxwell to scramble backwards and tip his strike over the bar from the subsequent set piece.

King was booked in his 100th appearance for PNE. The defender was cautioned for fouling Town midfielder Josh Morris in the 60th minute.

Fleetwood’s Nick Haughton appealed for a penalty moments later. The midfielder’s cross appeared to strike John Welsh’s arm in the box but referee Andy Madley waved away his claim.

Huntington was booked for fouling Sarcevic in the 65th minute.

Huntington was injured after challenging with Johnstone and Pond in North End’s box. Johnstone cleared the danger but Huntington fell to the floor. The defender was stretchered off the pitch wearing a neck brace and an oxygen mask.

And within minutes of the restart Fleetwood levelled. Substitute Ball took advantage of the swirling winds and his 25-yard chip flew over a back-peddling Jonstone into the top left corner in the 85th minute.

Johnstone made an instinctive save to deny Morris in added time.

Cod Army goalscorer Ball capitalised on a defensive slip to run at PNE midfielder Johnson with two team mates for company but thankfully Laird recovered and blocked Ball’s shot.

PNE: Johnstone, Clarke, King, Huntington, Humphrey,Welsh, Johnson, Gallagher (Brownhill, 90), Laird, Garner, Beckford (Davies, 68). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Woods, Kilkenny, Little, Reid.

Fleetwood: Maxwell, Roberts (Ball, 74) Pond, Schumacher, Morris, Chicksen (Hunter, 46), Sarcevic, Proctor, Forbes, Jordan, Haughton. Subs not not used: Murdoch, Evans, Dobbie, Moore, Crainey.

Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire)

Attendance: 5,110. PNE: 1,396.