Full-time: PNE 1Sheffield United 1

PNE v Sheffield Utd
PNE v Sheffield Utd
Have your say

Andy Little scored his first league goal for Preston North End as the Lilywhites drew 1-1 in a controversial Roses clash against Sheffield United at Deepdale.

Little’s 11th minute strike gave North End the lead but defender Jack King believed he had won the tie as he sprinted towards the Alan Kelly Town End to celebrate his second successive home goal.

King’s 57th minute header appeared to be saved behind the line by Blades keeper Mark Howard and the defender wheeled off to express his joy in front of the PNE faithful.

But controversially referee Seb Stockbridge waved play on and ruled that King’s powerful header had not crossed the line.

Earlier in the game the Blades equalised in the 41st minute as Jose Baxter’s defelcted effort beat PNE shot stopper Jamie Jones.

Simon Grayson made four changes to the Preston North End that lost 3-1 to Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup.

Joe Garner, Little, Chris Humphrey and Josh Brownhill came back into the starting XI after being among the substitutes in the Tuesday night defeat.

Scott Wiseman kept his place at right-back after playing against Boro, getting the nod over Calum Woods.

In the centre of defence, Jack King was paired with skipper Tom Clarke, with Bailey Wright only making the bench after a recent groin injury.

John Welsh failed to recover from an ankle injury picked up in the second half at Boro and did not make the squad.

The Blades included Preston-born Harrison McGahey alongside former North End player Neill Collins in the centre of defence.

The visitors made an immediate impact as Michael Higdon leapt above his marker and headed the ball down but Jones was on hand to palm the ball round his right hand post.

But Little scored his first league goal for the club as he cut inside from the left and fizzed a low cross into the box. His low, curling effort evaded everyone and nestled in the right corner of goal in the 11th minute.

Chris Humphrey rode a couple of challenges before unleashing Garner on the right wing. The striker whipped the ball into the box in the 19th minute but PNE could not connect with the fizzing ball.

In the 24th minute Blades winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce smashed a fierce ball across the PNE box and Higdon steamed in at the back post but the striker could only divert the ball wide.

Right wing Humphrey cross in the 26th minute but Garner heads the ball over the bar.

Garner let fly in the 34th minute but his long range rocket flew agonisingly wide of the keeper’s right hand post.

And the striker was booking minutes later after an aerial clash with Jose Baxter.

Neil Kilkenny’s fierce right wing set piece forced Blades keeper Howard to tip the ball away from goal in the 37th minute.

But the Blades launched a counter attack and an unmarked Chris Basham headed the ball straight at Jones in the 39th minute.

Humphrey’s long-range fire-bolt stung Howard’s palms moments later as the keeper tipped the fierce effort over the bar.

But the Blades drew level as Jose Baxter’s shot from just outside the box took a lucky deflection and soared past Jones into the back of the net in the 41st minute.

The Blades upped the ante at the start of the second half and Jones’ palms were stung by Sheffield United player Ben Davies’ fizzing set-piece from just outside the penalty box in the 52nd minute.

Humphrey picked up the ball in space on the right before picking his spot and whipping the ball towards the top right hand corner but Blades keeper Howard managed to tip the ball over in the 56th minute.

Controversy struck from the subsequent corner as PNE fans and players celebrated Jack King’s second goal of the season. The defender appeared to head the ball over the line and he ran off celebrating but referee Seb Stocksbrige - taking charge of his first League One tie of the season - allowed United to play on and did not award a goal.

Blades defender Davies smashed another fierce shot towards goal but Jones managed to recover and just tip the long-range strike over the PNE bar in the 60th minute.

Garner teed-up substitute strike partner Jordan Hugill with a sweet lofted ball into the box in the 72nd minute and the 22-year-old striker nearly buried the ball beyond Howard. Hugill sprinted in at the back post and smashed the ball towards the bottom right corner but keeper Howard managed to get down to the ball and smuggled it out for a corner.

PNE substitute Paul Gallagher was challenged by James McEveley and went to ground on the right hand side of the Blades box but the referee waved away his penalty claim in the 77th minute.

Gallgher latched on to the ball just outside the box and smashed a low shot towards the bottom right corner but yet again Howard managed to tip another fierce effort wide of goal in the 89th minute.

And moments later the Scot latched on to Browne’s cross as he ran towards the penalty spot but Gallagher could not keep his effort down and the ball flew over the bar.

PNE: Jones, Wiseman, Clarke, King, B Davies (Woods, 46), Kilkenny, Brownhill (Hugill, 64), Browne, Humphrey, Little (Gallagher, 76), Garner. Subs not used: Wright, K Davies, Hayhurst, Stuckmann.

United: Howard, Basham, Collins, McGahey, McEveley, Murphy, Doyle (Harris, 90), Davies, Campbell-Ryce, Baxter (Wallace, 81), Higdon (McNulty, 77). Subs not used: Flynn, McGinn, Reed, Turner.

Referee: Seb Stockbridge (Sunderland)

Attednace: 11,058 (1,817 away)