Memory match: Last-gasp strike gave Preston North End point at Blackburn Rovers

Aiden McGeady struck in the 93rd minute to earn North End a draw in their derby clash with relegation-haunted Rovers at Ewood Park in March 2017.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 11th February 2021, 3:00 pm

The equaliser came as the Lilywhites launched one last attack as they chased something from a game in which they had for a long spell been second best.

Substitute Paul Gallagher slid a pass into the box, Tom Clarke squared it into the path of McGeady and the Republic of Ireland international shot home from 10 yards.

North End had taken an early lead through Tom Barkhuizen, that his fifth goal in four games.

Aiden McGeady breaks Blackburn hearts with his 93rd-minute equaliser in the rain at Ewood Park

They failed to capitalise on the goal though, Rovers playing their way into the game and going on to boss large parts.

Elliott Bennett drew them level two minutes before half-time with a shot from 25 yards, then Craig Conway put the home side ahead in the 56th minute.

At times it looked hard work for PNE as they struggled to get a foothold, however Gallagher’s introduction with quarter of an hour left gave them a different outlook.

It was appropriate that he had a hand in the equaliser and up popped McGeady with his fifth goal in North End colours to earn what could prove to be a vital point in the final shake-up

PNE boss Simon Grayson had named an unchanged starting XI, with Gallagher returning to the bench after a knee injury to replace Stevie May. The opening exchanges were lively in the rain and after a couple of openings at both ends, North End took a 13th-minute lead.

Barkhuizen played the ball in to Hugill just outside the box, the striker controlling it and cushioning a pass through to release Barkhuizen on goal. The in-form striker took a touch before firing into the roof of the net, goalkeeper Jason Steele getting a glove to the shot but unable to keep it out.

McGeady sent a volley over the bar a couple of minutes later after a Daryl Horgan corner had been headed out into his path.

A shot from Jordan Hugill deflected off a Blackburn defender and bounced through to Steele.

Rovers began to work their way into the game, Lucas Joaa putting a header into Chris Maxwell’s gloves from close range after meeting a Bennett cross.

There was a let-off for North End with 38 minutes gone, Derrick Williams’ cross from the left corner of the box met by Joao who headed against the post.

Two minutes before half-time, Rovers equalised as they made their pressure count. Bennett got the ball 30 yards out, slipped past a challenge before finding the bottom corner with a fine finish.

Blackburn took the lead in the 56th minute, when Emnes turned and slipped a pass between North End’s centre-backs, Conway taking a touch before slipping a shot past Maxwell as he came off his line.

Callum Robinson joined the action for Horgan in the 67th minute, Gallagher and Simon Makienok joining him as the minutes went by.

Paul Huntington had the ball in the net in the 90th minute but the flag went up for offside against him.

That was not to prove the last hurrah though, as Barkhuizen got possession and played the ball inside to Gallagher whose pass found Clarke inside the box.

He pulled the ball back into the path of McGeady who took a touch before firing home in front of the 6,005 PNE fans massed in the Darwen End.