Match report: PNE 1 Newcastle United 1

Ben Davies slides in for a tackle against Newcastle, Picture Anthony Devlin/PA wire
Ben Davies slides in for a tackle against Newcastle, Picture Anthony Devlin/PA wire

Preston North End and Newcastle fought out an entertaining draw in Alex Neil's first game at Deepdale.

Honours ended even, Aleksander Mitrovic scoring his customary goal against PNE to give the Magpies an early lead.

PNE midfielder Ben Pearson in action against Newcastle. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

PNE midfielder Ben Pearson in action against Newcastle. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Tom Barkhuizen levelled matters in the 33rd minute, volleying home a good finish from a Greg Cunningham cross.

It meant North End stayed unbeaten in pre-season after their first four friendlies had ended in victories.

The Lilywhites had began in a 4-1-4-1 system, Ben Pearson sitting deep with Callum Robinson, Alan Browne, Daniel Johnson and Barkhuizen across the middle - Jordan Hugill spearheading the attack.

It was Newcastle who made the brighter start, Chris Maxwell tipping a shot from Siem De Jong over the bar after the Ditch midfielder had been afforded too much room on the edge of the box to collect a Mitrovic pass.

Browne and Johnson had sights at goal with curling shots from outside the box, Browne's effort saved by Robert Elliott while DJ saw his clear the bar.

The Magpies took a nine-minute lead, Maxwell diving to parry a shot from Paul Dummett, the rebound falling to Mitrovic who fired home.

It was the Serbian's fifth goal against PNE in recent months, having scored twice in their 6-0 EFL Cup win and then twice in the 2-1 victory in the Championship last October.

Mitrovic was the width of the woodwork from netting again in the 29th minute, his angled shot from the side of the six-yard box hitting the base of the far post.

With Browne and Pearson starting to see more of the ball, North End began to get more of a foothold in the first half.

Barkhuizen and Robinson also swapped flanks, the switch to the right seeing Barkhuizen get more involved.

A free-kick from Johnson went too high before Preston levelled in the 33rd minute.

Skipper Greg Cunningham put over a cross from the left, one which spun off the head off Newcastle centre-half Grant Hanley as he challenged in the air with Hugill.

The ball fell to Barkhuizen on the edge of the six-yard box who cushioned a volleyed finish across Elliott into the net.

Four minutes later, Marnick Vermijl got down the right hand side of the box and drove a cross into the middle, one which hit Barkhuizen and went wide as him and Hugill closed in at the far post.

Newcastle made eight changes at the interval, North End sticking with the same XI for the start of the second half.

Two chances fell the visitors' way in the space of 60 seconds, De Jong scuffing his shot in front of goal after being played in by Dwight Gayle.

It was Gayle who had the second chance, his low shot from close quarters saved well by Maxwell with his out-stretched right foot.

Hugill went close to giving PNE the lead in the 57th minute, only to be denied by a fine save from substitute goalkeeper Karl Darlow.

Barkhuizen was the creator, cutting inside from the right-wing and chipping over a cross which deflected off a Newcastle head into the path of Hugill.

The striker met it with a scissor kick which bounced across goal, Darlow diving to claw it past the far post.

That was Hugill's last contribution, with him and Browne replaced by Josh Harrop and Eoin Doyle in a double substitution.

In the 70th minutes, Newcastle introduced their third goalkeeper of the afternoon, Freddie Woodman replacing half-time sub Darlow.

It needed a fine intervention from Cunningham to keep North End level, the left-back getting enough on Chancel Mbemba's header to take it over the bar.

A well-struck shot from Mbemba was pushed out by Maxwell, who later charged outside his box to head clear as Ayoze Perez chased a ball down the right channel.

In the 90th minute, Daryl Horgan's pass played in Marnick Vermijl down the right side of the box, the Belgian's low shot pushed past the near post by Woodman.

PNE: Maxwell, Vermijl, Huntington, Davies, Cunningham, Pearson, Browne (Harrop 58), Barkhuizen, Johnson (Pringle 82), Robinson (Horgan 67), Hugill (Doyle 58). Subs (not used): Boyle, Grimshaw, Spurr, Meulensteen, Earl, Hudson.

Newcastle: Elliott (Darlow 46, Woodman 70) Mbemba (Yedlin 46), Hanley (Clark 46), Lejeune (Manqillo 76), Dummett (Colback 46), Atsu (Hayden 46), Diamé (Perez 46), Shelvey (Murphy 46), Aarons (Gayle), De Jong (Roberts 62), Mitrovic.

Referee: Jon Moss (Yorkshire)

Attendance: 7,380 (2,307 away)