Middlesbrough 1 Preston North End 1 - Match report from the Riverside Stadium as Lilywhites take a point from a low-quality clash

Jposh Harrop is congratulated by Alan Browne and Sean Maguire after giving Preston the lead against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium
Jposh Harrop is congratulated by Alan Browne and Sean Maguire after giving Preston the lead against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium

Preston North End extended their unbeaten run in the Championship to seven games with a draw against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

It was a game low on quality with both goals coming in a two-minute spell leading up to half-time.

Preston's Tom Barkhuizen takes on Middlesbrough skipper Dani Ayala

Preston's Tom Barkhuizen takes on Middlesbrough skipper Dani Ayala

Josh Harrop gave North End a 40th minute lead from close range after an Alan Browne shot had come back off the post.

But within a couple of minutes Boro levelled, PNE right-back Darnell Fisher turning the ball into his own net as he tried to clear a low cross from Paddy McNair.

The home side looked the more likely in the second half but the closest they came to scoring was a shot from Marcus Tavernier which Declan Rudd tipped over the bar.

Alex Neil's men looked short of ideas going forward, probably their best two players on the night being centre-backs Patrick Bauer and Ben Davies.

Preston defender Ben Davies clears his lines against Middlesbrough

Preston defender Ben Davies clears his lines against Middlesbrough

North End's side had shown just the one change from Saturday's 3-3 draw with Bristol City, Browne replacing Paul Gallagher in midfield.

The opening 20 minutes were scrappy with little pattern to either's side play.

Joe Rafferty saw an early shot blocked in the box after Sean Maguire had picked him out with a pass as PNE countered on the home side.

At the other end, Rudd used his legs to block a low shot from Marcus Browne.

Tom Barkhuizen had a half shout for a penalty when he seemed to be clipped by Boro skipper Dani Ayala but referee Darren England didn't deem there to be enough contact and waved play on.

Tavernier shot wide from the edge of the box after Ryan Shotton's run from the left-back position across field had taken Boro up the pitch.

The hosts hit the woodwork in the 25th minute, McNair's cross from the right channel looping across the face of the goal and hitting the inside of the far post before Patrick Bauer cleared.

Browne met a corner from Harrop and saw his header cleared inside the six-yard box before the game burst into life with two goals in as many minutes.

PNE took a 40th minute lead as Fisher got down the right-wing and squared a pass inside to Browne on the edge of the box.

The skipper's low right-foot shot hit the far post, spun back across the six-yard box and Harrop was on hand to knock it over the line from close range.

But the lead was to last barely two minutes as Boro equalised.

McNair got possession on the right-hand side of the box and crossed low from the byline, Fisher only able to turn the ball into his own net from a yard or so out as he tried to clear under pressure from Britt Assombalonga.

Four minutes into the second half, a Tavernier shot from 20 yards went straight at Rudd who gathered easily.

David Nugent replaced goalscorer Harrop in the 56th minute, his arrival seeing him take up the centre forward role with Barkhuizen moving out to the wing.

Shortly after the substitution it needed a smart save from Rudd to keep parity, the keeper springing up to tip a shot from Tavernier over the bar after he had burst down the left side of the box.

Davies blocked well from McNair, the hosts' midfielder taking an extra touch which gave Davies the chance to put his foot in and take the shot behind.

North End carved-out a decent chance in the 69th minute as Barkhuizen got into space down the right channel and pulled the ball into the box for Daniel Johnson.

However, the ball spun off the outside of Johnson's boot and the chance went begging.

With 10 minutes left, a double change saw Paul Gallagher and Brad Potts replace Johnson and Barkhuizen.

A first involvement for Gallagher saw him on free-kick duty after Maguire was fouled 25 outs by Ayala but the North End substitute hit his effort into the wall.

Both sides had a couple of half chances in the latter stages, Browne volleying over with the last kick of the game from outside the box.

Middlesbrough : Randolph, Dijksteel, Ayala, Fry, Shotton, Howson, Clayton, McNair, Tavernier, Browne (Johnson 80), Assombalonga (Fletcher 80). Subs (not used): Saville, Wing, Bola, Walker, Pears.

PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Rafferty, Pearson, Browne, Maguire, Johnson (Gallagher 81), Harrop (Nugent 56), Barkhuizen (Potts 81). Subs (not used): Storey, Ginnelly, Ledson, Ripley.

Referee: Darren England (South Yorkshire)

Attendance: 17,961