Match report: Preston North End 2 Bolton Wanderers 2

Callum Robinson gives PNE the lead against Bolton
Callum Robinson gives PNE the lead against Bolton

Preston North End tossed away a two-goal lead against Bolton Wanderers and had Ben Pearson sent-off after the final whistle.

Pearson saw red for a headbutt on Joe Williams who was booked, players from both teams coming together in the aftermath.

Alan Browne celebrates PNE's second goal

Alan Browne celebrates PNE's second goal

It completed a frustrating afternoon for North End, this very much a case of two-points dropped after starting so strongly.

Callum Robinson latched on to Brandon Barker's through ball to round the keeper and slot PNE into an 11th minute lead.

Alan Browne quickly doubled the lead with a superb volley on the turn from the edge of the box which had Deepdale on its feet.

But a Declan Rudd howler in the 38th minute handed Bolton a way back into the contest, the North End keeper allowing a shot from Sammy Ameobi to go through his legs and into the net.

Pawel Olkowski fires Bolton's equaliser

Pawel Olkowski fires Bolton's equaliser

Within two minutes the visitors were level, Pawel Olowski hammering home a shot off the underside of the bar.

The second-half turned into an untidy and scrappy affair with a couple of chances at either end - Robinson forcing a fine save from Ben Alnwick.

Pearson's dismissal which followed a niggly seven minutes of stoppage-time saw the afternoon end in controversy, the midfielder now facing a three-game suspension - this Preston's third sending-off on the season.

North End started in a 4-2-3-1 system, Robinson leading the attack with Browne behind him in the No.10 slot.

Barker, fresh from scoring a stunning goal at Leeds in midweek, played down the left-wing with Graham Burke on the right.

Skipper Tom Clarke got the nod at right-back ahead of Darnell Fisher who was on the bench.

They were out of the blocks quickly, racing into a two-goal lead inside the opening 16 minutes.

The first goal arrived in the 11th minute, a stray pass from Yanic Wildschut gifting possession to Barker.

The Manchester City loanee took full advantage, driving forward through the Bolton half before slipping a pass through to play Robinson clear of the visitors' defence.

Robinson side-stepped keeper Alnwick who had raced out to the edge of the box before rolling a low shot into the unguarded net.

PNE doubled the lead in the 16th minute when a Robinson cross was cleared by the Bolton defence as far as Paul Gallagher .

He chested the ball forward to Browne on the edge of the 'D', the Irishman controlling on his chest before turning and hooking a left-foot volley across the keeper into the far corner.

Gallagher saw a speculative effort from 35 yards disappear into the Bill Shankly Kop as Preston looked to stretch their lead.

Bolton were seeing plenty of the ball despite being behind, an Ameobi cross-shot from the byline cut out by Rudd's out-stretched foot.

Rudd then dived to get down and hold David Wheater's downward header from a left-wing corner.

Burke shot narrowly wide from 18 yards after being teed-up by Browne who had taken the ball across the face of the box, before a quickly-taken free-kick from Robinson played in Barker down the left channel.

Barker took the ball into the box but saw his shot blocked by a defender and cleared.

The game swung Bolton's way as they scored twice in less than two minutes to pull level, the first of those goals gifted to him by Rudd's howler.

Ameobi hit a left-foot shot from 20 yards which Rudd seemed to dive past and let through his legs.

Following on from the two goals he had conceded at Derby a week earlier, this wasn't Rudd's finest hour.

Bolton then pulled level in the 40th minute, a loose ball falling into the path of Olkowski two yards inside the box.

He hit a first-time right-foot shot which crashed against the underside of the bar and bounced down over the line into the net.

North End boss Alex Neil made a double change at the break, Daniel Johnson and Tom Barkhuizen replacing Gallagher and Burke.

Johnson had a sight of goal within three minutes of coming on, his deflected shot from the left hand side of the box pushed past the past by Alnwick.

Louis Moult was PNE's third change, joining the action just beyond the hour in place of Barker.

It needed a fine block from Browne in the six-yard box to get in the way of Jason Lowe's 66th minute goalbound shot and prevent Bolton going in front.

A good chance of their own came at the other end in the 73rd minute, Tom Clarke and Browne linking well down the right to find Moult.

After getting the ball under control, Moult rolled it across the six-yard box to find Robinson beyond the far post, his shot clawed behind by the keeper.

Robinson later forced a diving save from Alnwick with a shot from 20 yards.

The game ended in stormy circumstances as fighting broke out at the final whistle - it following a stop-start period of stoppage-time.

After a coming together involving several players from both teams, referee Andy Davies showed Pearson a red card as he walked towards the tunnel.

Mr Davies then booked Bolton's Joe Williams for his part in it.

PNE: Rudd, Clarke, Huntington, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Gallagher (Johnson 46), Burke (Barkhuizen 46), Browne, Barker (Moult 61), Robinson. Subs (not used): Fisher, Earl, Harrop, Maxwell.

Bolton: Alnwick, Olkowski, Wheater, Beevers, Taylor (Grounds 74), Lowe, Williams, O'Neil, Wildschut (Noone 61), Ameobi, Magennis. Subs (not used): Vela, Oztumer, Donaldson, Hobbs, Matthews.

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire)

Attendance: 16,331 (4,144 away)