Norwich City 1 Preston North End 1

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Preston North End again held one of the sides in the promotion-chasing pack to a draw as they gained a hard-fought point against Norwich City at Carrow Road.

They had to battle in the closing stages with 10 men after David Gray left the pitch on a stretcher, by then Phil Brown having used up his three substitutes.

Norwich City's David Fox and Preston North End's Paul Hayes (left) battle for the ball during the npower Football League Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich.

Norwich City's David Fox and Preston North End's Paul Hayes (left) battle for the ball during the npower Football League Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich.

After a dull first half, the contest burst into life after an hour when substitute Chris Brown volleyed PNE into the lead with his first touch.

Norwich were level within two minutes, Grant Holt netting from close range after Iain Turner had parried a shot from Andrew Surman.

Turner saved a 73rd minute penalty from former Blackpool midfielder Wes Hoolahan, the spot kick awarded against Darren Carter for handball.

Tempers flared in the final stages, with six players booked, but North End gallantly held on to the draw as they came under intense pressure late on.

In the fifth minute, Holt’s flick-on set Hoolahan clear down the left-wing.

His square pass into the box picked out Andrew Surman, but Sean St Ledger managed to block the midfielder’s low shot.

Soon afterwards, Hoolahan drove an effort from the edge of the box just wide of Iain Turner’s far post following good work on the left by Marc Tierney.

North End’s first opening fell Eddie Johnson’s way, the striker cutting into the penalty area and trying his luck with a shot which hit team mates Paul Hayes and bounced clear.

In the 18th minute, Leon Cort had to get in a sliding challenge to deflect a shot from Hoolahan behind.

Iain Hume blazed a first-time shot over the bar from just inside the box after Johnson had flicked on Hayes’ pass.

David Gray tested Canaries keeper John Ruddy with a 20-yard drive, Ruddy diving to his right to hold the shot.

North End made a 36th minute substitution, Barry Nicholson limping off after taking a knock on his right ankle earlier in the contest.

Keith Treacy came on, with the visitors reverting to a 4-4-2 system, Hume moving from a central position on to the right-wing.

In the 58th minute, Brown replaced Hayes up front, this being Brown’s first game in two months after a knee injury.

And he was on target after less than two minutes on the pitch against the club with who he started his career.

Brown won a free-kick 25 yards out when he got a shove in the back from Elliott Ward.

Treacy hit the free-kick into the wall and when it rebounded back to him, he lifted the ball into the box and over the hosts’ defence.

Brown darted forward, chested it down before volleying into the far corner from the edge of the six-yard box.

The lead lasted just two minutes - if that - as Tierney’s pass played in Surman down the left side of the box.

His low shot was parried one-handed by Turner, the rebound falling invitingly to Holt who side-footed home from close range.

Billy Jones and Russell Martin went into referee Craig Pawson’s notebook when they clashed in an off-ball incident.

And Holt later saw yellow for a dive, going down rather too easily under a challenge from Bailey Wright - on for the injured Cort.

Turner’s penalty save came in the 72nd minute after Carter handled Martin’s far post shot.

Hoolahan chipped the spot-kick down the middle - as he once did for Blackpool against PNE three years ago - Turner managing to correct his dive and hold the tame effort.

North End almost regained the lead in the 67th minute, Hume’s cross from the right deceiving Ruddy and hitting the bar.

Ten minutes later, an off-balance St Ledger saw a close-range shot blocked after Brown’s header from a Treacy corner had fallen into his path.

North End were forced to play with 10 men from the 87th minute, Gray stretchered off the pitch after going in for a tackle with Tierney - by then the visitors had used their three substitutions.

Jones moved to right-back, with Treacy having to play as an emergency left-back.

And with St Ledger also limping, Brown dropped back into the centre of defence in the six minutes of stoppage time added on.

PNE boss Phil Brown had been forced to make a late change to the North End line-up after Nathan Ellington pulled out with an injury suffered in the pre-match warm-up.

His place in attack went to Hayes who was promoted from the bench, with travelling reserve Danny Mayor named on the bench.

The team sheet had already been handed in when the Duke was injured about half an hour before kick-off.

It meant there were five changes to the North End side beaten by Burnley a week ago.

Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Whitbread, Ward, Tierney, Lansbury, Crofts, Fox, Surman, Hoolahan, Holt. Subs: Edwards (Whitbread 56), Wilbraham (Surman 65), Jackson (Landsbury 81), Drury, Gill, Smith, Rudd.

PNE: Turner, Gray, Cort, St Ledger, Jones, Nicholson, Ashbee, Carter, Hume, Hayes, Johnson. Subs: Treacy (Nicholson 36), C Brown (Hayes 58), Wright (Cort 64), Mayor, Barton, Parrys, Arestidou.

Referee: Craig Pawson (West Yorks)

Attendance: 25,572