Preston North End edged into the third round of the FA Cup with a far from convincing performance against Shrewsbury Town at Deepdale.
Centre-half Paul Huntington’s smart finish in the first half was enough to put the Lilywhites into the hat for Monday night’s draw.
However, they played second fiddle to the Shrews for long spells of the second half and had to defend deep at times.
Thorsten Stuckmann pulled off a handful of saves with David Buchanan also having to clear a Jim Collins’ shot off the line.
Mind you, North End wasted a golden chance in the 77th minute to make life more comfortable for themselves.
They were awarded a penalty when Paul Gallagher was tripped in the box but Gallagher blazed the spot kick high over the bar.
North End manager Simon Grayson had gone same again in terms of his selection, sticking with the same starting XI and substitutes which featured in last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Yeovil.
The visitors went close early on, Collins getting possession on the left hand side of the box and curling a right-foot shot towards the far post which Stuckmann dived to fingertip away at full stretch.
Chris Humphrey, facing the club who gave him his start in first-team football, did similar to Collins at the other end in the sixth minute.
He cut inside from the right-wing on to his left-foot and let fly with a shot which Shrews keeper Jayson Leutwiler got a glove to and pushed out.
Jermaine Beckford put a shot from a tight angle into the side-netting after being played in by Kyel Reid.
The Lilwyhites went ahead in the 19th minute after Humphrey won a corner on the right-wing.
Paul Gallagher’s flag-kick was partly cleared by the Shrews defence but Reid returned the ball into the middle from the left hand side for Huntington to score on the half-volley from eight yards – that his fourth goal in 11 games since returning to the side.
Just before the half hour, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro got to the byline and pulled the ball across goal, Buchanan forced to put it out for a corner at the back post.
In the 31st minute, Neil Kilkenny’s clever pass released Humphrey in the box but he put too much weight on the cross and it evaded everyone in the middle.
The experienced Liam Lawrence had a couple of sights of goal for the visitors in the last 10 minutes of the first period.
A weaving run carried him past a couple of challenges and to the edge of the box, only for him to scuff a shot well wide of the target.
Then he tried his luck with a shot from similar distance five minutes later, that going straight at Stuckmann.
In the 42nd minute, Buchanan pulled the ball into the path of Beckford, the loan striker’s shot well blocked by centre-half Connor Goldson.
Just before the interval, Beckford tried his luck with a curling shot from 20 yards but lifted it straight into Leutwiler’s gloves.
Shrewsbury were very much the side on the front foot after the interval as they searched for an equaliser.
Bobby Grant saw a first-time shot from just outside the box bend just wide of the target.
With the visitors enjoying the lions’ share of possession, Grayson opted for a double substitution after an hour to try and curb that - Josh Brownhill and Kevin Davies replacing Reid and Kilkenny.
Twice more, in quick succession, Shrewsbury went close to getting on level terms.
Grant’s curling free-kick stayed low and forced Stuckmann to parry at the foot of the post.
Then Buchanan came to PNE’s rescue, the left-back clearing off the line after Collins had got the better of Huntington to drill an angled shot past Stuckmann.
Much of North End’s play was on the counter attack and one such break almost fashioned a second goal in the 68th minute.
The energetic Brownhill led the charge up field, his pass finding Gallagher who drilled in a shot from 25 yards which Leutwiler dived to push out.
The rebound fell to Davies just inside the box but he curled his effort just wide of the far post.
Another Grant free-kick was saved comfortably low down by Stuckmann before North End missed a great chance to put the game to bed.
Keeper Leutwiler got himself in all sorts of trouble trying to head the ball clear on the edge of the box.
Gallagher stole in and had his heels clipped by defender Nathaniel Knight-Percival, the challenge seeing referee David Webb point to the spot.
But Gallagher’s penalty was woeful, with him blazing it high over the bar and into the Bill Shankly Kop.
In the 85th minute, Gallagher’s pass from deep in the Shrewsbury half found Beckford, his low shot from 20 yards beaten out by Leutwiler.
Deep into stoppage-time, Brownhill shot inches wide after Davies and Gallagher linked-up to play him in.
PNE: Stuckmann, Wiseman, Clarke, Huntington, Buchanan, Welsh, Kilkenny (Brownhill 61), Humphrey (Browne 70), Gallagher, Reid (Davies 61), Beckford. Subs not used: Laird, King, Fewster, Jones.
Shrewsbury: Leutwiler, Grandison (Demetriou 46), Goldson, Knight-Percival, Grant, Lawrence, Wesolowski (Clark 16), Lawrence, Woods, Collins, Akpa Akpro (Mangan 58). Subs not used: Ellis, Vernon, Griffith, Halstead.
Referee: David Webb (County Durham)
Attendance: 6,011 (644 away)