Dave Seddon's match verdict: Preston North End 3 Bristol City 3 - Raining goals at Deepdale and plenty of controversy too

Preston celebrate their second goal against Bristol City at Deepdale
Preston celebrate their second goal against Bristol City at Deepdale

VAR would have had a field day had Preston’s action-packed and soggy clash with Bristol City come under its scrutiny.

North End cried foul over City’s first two goals while the visitors wouldn’t have minded another look at an effort they had ruled out.

Taylor Moore gives Bristol City the lead against Preston at Deepdale

Taylor Moore gives Bristol City the lead against Preston at Deepdale

They also questioned how much leverage Patrick Bauer used to jump and head home the Lilywhites’ third goal.

Fortunately VAR is not used in the Championship and we are able to have a good old fashioned debate about the merits or otherwise of several incidents.

Referee Andy Davies got it in the neck from both sets of supporters and City boss Lee Johnson but probably got the majority of calls right.

The different parties will have to agree to disagree on certain matters which added up to make a belter of a clash.

Daniel Johnson scores from the penalty spot

Daniel Johnson scores from the penalty spot

A draw was a fair result on the day and having been 2-0 and 3-2 behind, Preston would have seen it as a better result than the visitors did.

This was a 13th unbeaten game on the spin against the City.

With such dominance it was quite appropriate that Lancashire Bird Control were the match sponsors - PNE have controlled the Robins since 2013, winning eight of the games and drawing five.

Johnson has been their head coach for seven of those meetings and he must feel this was the closest his side had come to breaking North End’s hold.

Paul Gallagher scores from the spot

Paul Gallagher scores from the spot

They scored twice in eight minutes from corners in the first half to take control of a game played near enough from start to finish in heavy rain which soaked the pitch.

The first of two penalties awarded PNE’s way changed the dynamic of the game just before half-time.

Paul Gallagher stuck that one away, Daniel Johnson then doing likewise early in the second half.

Another set-piece goal was to hand the initiative back to City before Bauer got above Nathan Baker to pull it back to three apiece 19 minutes from time.

Patrick Bauer heads home Preston's third goal

Patrick Bauer heads home Preston's third goal

The fact it stayed that way was a surprise, bearing in mind both sides attacked at will looking for a winner.

City thought they had one late on when Famara Diedhiou put the ball in the net.

Mr Davies spotted the substitute had given Bauer a shove in order to reach the ball first, and chalked it off.

Had it stood, you wouldn’t have bet against PNE finding another equaliser such was the nature of the game.

The draw extended Alex Neil’s men unbeaten run to six games in the league and kept them in the Championship's top five.

What City managed to do was become the first away team to avoid defeat in the league at Deepdale this season.

They were the best team to play here to date, strong on the counter and prepared to push men forward.

The fact Preston had the spirit and power to fight back is credit to them.

These two sides have been going toe-to-toe since being in League One together.

They were promoted in the same season and there’s been some good tussles, with Preston having the upper hand as the stats show.

North End boss Neil felt having the sign over City was a factor in this game.

Neil said: “When they went 2-0 up I got the impression – I might be wrong – that their attitude was ‘Let’s just defend and make sure we don’t lose any goals’.

“Then when we got a goal with the first penalty before half-time, they knew that the second half would be a hard shift for them. At half-time that was the message to our lads, that the next goal would be crucial.”

PNE having to play a game of chase is not something they had been forced to do since the first day of the season at Millwall.

They had taken the lead in all their league games since then, including in the only other defeat at Swansea.

It did seem to shock them when Johnson’s men took a 29th minute lead.

Tommy Rowe delivered a corner from the right over to the far post where Declan Rudd went up to try and catch.

He didn’t gather it, Taylor Moore knocking the ball in from close range.

Did Rudd get impeded? He seemed to think Moore had tugged at his left arm as they initially challenged in the air.

Clear and obvious? We wouldn’t have liked to have seen it scrubbed out had PNE scored it at the other end.

When a Josh Brownhill corner came over from the other side, Andreas Weimann looped a header into the net with Rudd on the floor.

He’d been knocked over by team-mate Johnson who had got a push from Moore. A foul or did Rudd need to be stronger?

The penalty spot became PNE’s friend either side of half-time, Mr Davies pointing to it first a minute into stoppage-time when Johnson was tripped by Antoine Semenyo during a scramble in the box.

Gallagher drove the spot kick under Daniel Bentley who had guessed the right way.

The second penalty came in the 51st minute, a cross from Sean Maguire striking Ashley Williams on both of his arms.

This time Johnson was on spot-kick duty and he sent Bentley the wrong way with a confidently struck finish.

It was the second time this season North End had been given two penalties in a game, while it happened in two of the pre-season friendlies against AFC Fylde and Newcastle.

PNE should have been in the ascendancy but Bristol City wrestled the lead back in the 61st minute.

Their third goal was a poor one to concede, Brownhill’s free-kick to the far post won in the air by Williams.

His header hit Ben Davies on the back and rolled into the path of Baker whose shot hit Rudd on the leg and went in.

Hence Bauer’s first goal for the club 10 minutes later was a timely one. Johnson played a corner short to Joe Rafferty on the corner of the box.

The left-back lifted a super cross to the far post for Bauer to get above Baker and send a header bouncing down into the turf and up into the net.

It’s fair to say the German used Baker’s shoulders to help him climb so high.

Lots of entertainment, lots of rain and lots of goals. It made for a decent afternoon.