Match report: PNE 1 QPR 1

On the day Jermaine Beckford made his long-awaited comeback from injury, his fellow substitute Eoin Doyle was Preston North End's last-gasp hero against Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale.

Saturday, 19th March 2016, 1:35 pm
Updated Saturday, 19th March 2016, 6:55 pm

Doyle netted PNE's equaliser 90 seconds into stoppage-time, heading home a Greg Cunningham cross to deservedly bring the hosts level.

QPR had led from the fifth minute, Sebastian Polter having been left unmarked at a corner to nod it at the far post.

From then on, North End had much of the play but could not turn that into many meaningful chances.

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Doyle, scorer of Preston's winner at Bolton a week earlier, was introduced from the bench for the last half hour.

But it was the arrival of Beckford from the bench five minutes from time which had people off their seats, it ending five-and-a-half months on the sidelines for the striker after knee surgery.

You wondered whether it was in the script for him to score, however it was Doyle who grabbed the headlines with the late leveller.

After the equaliser, there was another headed chance for the Irishman, but this time it went too near keeper Alex Smithies who saved.

Beckford's inclusion on the bench had been kept under wraps and generated plenty of excitement when the team-sheet was made public.

He damaged cartilage in his right knee in a pre-season friendly against Motherwell in July, and when the injury flared-up after substitute appearances against Ipswich and Watford in August, he underwent surgery in early September.

North End trailed from early in the contest, it being the first goal they have conceded in the opening quarter of an hour of a league game this season.

It came from a corner, somewhat needlessly given away by Cunningham as he tried to shepherd a long ball out of play.

Alejandro Faurlin delivered it left-footed from the right, deep to the far post where the unmarked Polter headed home.

The visitors seemed content to sit deep from then on and counter attack, that allowing PNE to see plenty of the ball.

Play was mainly one way for the remainder of the first half, without the hosts managing to make it count.

Jordan Hugill put a header too high from Callum Robinson's cross, then soon after, Daniel Johnson's one-two with Adam Reach took him into the box, only to be crowded out by the visitors defence.

Cunningham's shot from distance took a wicked deflection and spun inches wide of the target

A QPR attack on the break saw Junior Hoilett run from just inside the Preston half to the edge of the box, his shot at the end of it a weak one which rolled straight to Anders Lindegaard.

Reach shot wide from the outside of the box after a Paul Gallagher corner had been headed out of the box.

Gallagher tried his luck with a first-time effort from 20 yards, one which the midfielder dragged well wide.

As the interval approached, Calum Woods' cross found Hugill in the middle but his header was off target.

The second half had a similar pattern with North End doing more of the attacking but always liable to the counter-attack.

Polter broke into the box in the 53rd minute, Tom Clarke getting across to make a timely block as the German pulled the trigger.

Just beyond the hour, Polter got free on the left side of the box and hit a shot which flashed across the face of the goal and out beyond the far post.

Hugill sent a header over the bar from a Gallagher corner as North End began to mount late pressure.

PNE skipper Clarke was fortunate to escape with just a booking when he tugged back Tjaronn Chery in the 81st minute, referee Andy Woolmer keeping the red card in his pocket despite big protests from the visitors.

It that was a game-changing moment, another came just after it when Chery broke clear for a second time.

He surged into the box one-on-one with Anders Lindegaard but the keeper stood strong and blocked the midfielder's shot with his chest.

The game was in the 92nd minute when North End grabbed their equaliser.

Clarke over hit a cross from the right-wing which Gallagher retrieved on the far side and played into the path of Cunningham.

The left-back went down the left side of the box and lifted a cross into the middle which Doyle steered past the keeper.

Soon after, Doyle got the end of Gallagher's cross from the left-wing but Smithies saved.

PNE: Lindegaard, Woods, Clarke, Wright, Cunningham, Johnson, Gallagher, Pearson (Doyle 61), Johnson, Reach (Beckford 85), Robinson (Welsh 78), Hugill. Subs (not used): Vermijl, Kilkenny, Smith, Kirkland.

QPR: Smithies, Onuoha, Angella, Hill, Perch, Faurlin, Henry, Mackie (Luongo 78), Chery (Hall 88), Hoilett (El Khayati 90), Polter. Subs (not used): Washington, Tozser, Petrasso, Ingram.

Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northants)

Attendance: 11,322 (675 away)