Preston had taken the lead just after the half hour when an Alan Brown shot took a deflection off the boot of Patrick Bauer and found the back of the net. North End played some decent football at times but to be honest I thought the visitors were fairly mediocre in the first 45 minutes.
After the break the game opened out a little with PNE dropping a little bit further back as the half wore on.
Birmingham made a treble substitution 10 minutes from the end and it proved a master stroke by Lee Bowyer, as Scott Hogan headed home with minutes to go and two points were lost on an afternoon where I felt poor decision making and a lack of quality right at the top of the pitch cost us dearly.
We certainly started the brighter as the 3-1-4-2 formation, adopted by Lowe, once again proved to be solid if unspectacular in the early stages of the game. Hughes headed wide when he really should have done better and Browne had a long shot with the Birmingham goalkeeper well out of position.
North End took the lead after 31 minutes in slightly fortuitous fashion when a shot by Browne caught a fine glance of the boot of Bauer and into the goal.
It was probably just about what North End deserved as they had clearly been the better side in a half of football where not many chances were created but North End were very workmanlike with everyone doing their jobs.
Chances were few and far between after the break but with 25 minutes left Brad Potts fired straight at the keeper when he looked like he was going to score. Riis then played the ball through for Johnson to go one on one with the keeper but the ball was under-hit by the big Dane and an excellent chance to win the game had gone begging.
North End were made to pay the price with just four minutes of normal time remaining when a low whipped cross from the right was headed home by Hogan right in front of the 1,994 travelling fans from the second city. So Ryan Lowe keeps his unbeaten league record taking seven points from his first three games in charge. T
his will feel more like a defeat than a draw, though, and North End really should have put the game away when they had their chance.
There was a good attitude among the side but we did appear to be tiring a little late on. It was clear for all to see in this game that North End need a striker who can score at least 15, or preferably 20, goals a season.
Evans worked his socks off and Riis caused the occasional problem but they need supplementing in this transfer window if we are to continue with this forward momentum following the appointment of Lowe.
It is very early days for the new manager and his philosophy has certainly struck a chord with the fans but he needs help in the transfer market.