Match report: PNE 1 Leeds 1

A stoppage-time equaliser from Jordan Hugill earned Preston North End a draw against Leeds United in their final game of the season.

Saturday, 7th May 2016, 11:04 am
Updated Saturday, 7th May 2016, 3:45 pm
PNE boss Simon Grayson

Substitute Hugill struck from close range in the third minute of stoppage-time.

His goal levelled things up after Richard Wood had put the Yorkshire side ahead from the penalty spot in the 77th minute.

North End keeper Chris Kirkland had conceded the penalty, needlessly bringing down Luke Murphy on the byline.

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Late pressure from the home side looked to be in vein until Hugill robbed Scott Wootton to the right of goal.

His attempted pass to Eoin Doyle was blocked but the striker was first to the loose ball to shoot home.

The draw ensured that North End finished 11th in the table in their first season back in the Championship.

Marnick Vermijl had returned to the starting XI in place of PNE player of the year Greg Cunningham who suffered a calf injury at Reading last week.

Vermijl, playing the last game of his season-long from Sheffield Wednesday, went into the side at right-wing back, with Calum Woods moving inside to the centre of defence.

On the bench there was a welcome return from injury for Chris Humphrey.

A stress fracture of the shin bone had kept the winger out of action since early October.

The first half was not the most exciting, with just a handful of half chances.

Early on, Jermaine Beckford get ahead of the Leeds defence to reach a Paul Gallagher through ball but the flag went up against him for offside.

In the 22nd minute, Gallagher whipped over a fine cross from the right-wing which found Garner.

But the striker got his angles all wrong and put his diving header well wide.

Daniel Johnson's fine pass opened-up the Leeds defence just before the half-hour mark, it releasing Adam Reach down the left side of the box.

Reach got to the byline and pulled back a low cross into the six-yard box which keeper Marco Silvestri dived to grab before it found a Preston foot.

Leeds went close when a long ball from the back sailed over the North End defence, releasing Wood.

He got to the ball just ahead of Kirkland and lobbed a shot goalwards, it just clearing the bar and landing on the top of the net.

Another chance for the visitors saw Lewie Coyle's pass released Stuart Dallas down the right, Dallas' cross headed over the bar by Alex Mowatt.

Garner went close at the other end as half-time approached, getting on the end of Reach's cross but powering a header inches too high.

In first-half stoppage-time, Garner and Leeds centre-half Liam Cooper clashed heads in the box, with both needing treatment.

Garner got up first with Cooper also getting back on his feet.

However, Cooper did not appear for the second half, with him replaced by Scott Wootton.

In the 51st minute, Stuart Dallas' corner from the left found Leeds skipper Sol Bamba beyond the far post and he directed his header well wide.

There was a great chance for North End to break the deadlock two minutes later, Reach breaking clear on goal.

As he got into the box, he chose to square it to Beckford instead of shooting, with the cross being blocked.

The loose ball ran into the path of Garner whose low shot was saved by Silvestri diving to his right.

Beckford steered a header across goal and wide of the far post after jumping to meet a cross from Woods.

Kirkland produced a fine save to keep the scoreline blank with 58 minutes on the clock.

Mowatt's cross from the left found Wood in the box, his header looking destined for the far corner until Kirkland dived across to tip it behind.

In the 72nd minute, substitute Callum Robinson lifted a shot over the bar after Daniel Johnson's free-kick had stayed low and travelled across the bar to him.

Leeds went in front when a cross from Mirco Antenucci was missed by everyone in the middle.

Murphy chased it beyond the far post and Kirkland challenged him on the byline, bringing him down.

Referee Andy Haines pointed to the spot and Wood sent Kirkland the wrong way with a confident finish.

North End put the pressure on in the closing stages, Johnson forcing a save out of the keeper, while Gallagher had a shot blocked on the line by Bamba.

Reach had the ball in the net in the 89th minute, only to see the flag go up for offside.

They were not to be denied though, the clock well into time added on when Hugill struck.

He had unselfishly tried to play in Doyle after dispossessing substitute Wootton and made the most of his second bite of the cherry to score.

After the game, the Preston squad did a lap of thanks, receiving warm applause from the supporters.

PNE: Kirkland, Vermijl, Huntington, Wright, Woods, Gallagher, Browne (Robinson 69), Johnson, Reach, Garner (Hugill 77), Beckford (Doyle 63). Subs (not used): Pearson, Humphrey, Welsh, Hudson.

Leeds: Silvestri, Coyle, Bamba, Cooper (Wootton 46), Taylor, Diagouraga, Mowatt (Antenucci 67), Murphy, Cook, Dallas (Vieira 90), Wood. Subs (not used): Doukara, Botaka, Phillips, Peacock-Farrell.

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne and Wear)

Attendance: 18,273 (5,464 away)