Preston North End 0 Derby County 0 - match report on a goalless draw at Deepdale which was far from dull
Preston North End and Derby County battled out a goalless draw at Deepdale which was more entertaining than the scoreline would suggest.
Although the scoreline was blank, but both sides had chances in an open game which was only lacking a decisive finish.
The visitors struck the woodwork twice in the first half through Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson - those chances aside it was North End who had the better of the first half.
Alex Neil's men then bossed the second period and had enough chances to collect the victory.
Three of those chances came in the same attack as Paul Gallagher, Brad Potts and Darnell Fisher were all denied by a series of goalmouth blocks.
Fisher and Maguire forced saves out of Rams goalkeeper Kelle Roos as North End ramped-up the pressure on Frank Lampard's outfit.
They had to settle for a draw though, one which extended their unbeaten run to four matches.
North End's starting XI was unchanged for the third game on the bounce, that not surprising after the wins at QPR and Stoke.
The one change to the squad on duty was a return for skipper Tom Clarke on the bench in place of Paul Huntington.
An early PNE chance saw Alan Browne's shot hit Jayden Stockley on the head and fly just wide, Gallagher's corner having created the opening.
Derby hit the woodwork in the 11th minute with their first real opportunity of the contest, Wilson moving unchallenged through midfield and hitting a shot from 25 yards which came back off the bar.
Preston had a decent patch of play after the quarter hour mark, Stockley going close when he turned and hooked a shot over the bar from six yards after Andrew Hughes had headed down a Gallagher corner.
Jordan Storey then put a header too high from another Gallagher flag kick.
There was a let-off for the home side when Ben Pearson went into the notebook for a sliding challenge on Tom Lawrence on the touchline in front of the dugouts.
Replays showed referee Darren Bond was lenient with the yellow card and it could easily have been red.
Derby had the better of the last 15 minutes of the first half, finding a way through North End's midfield on several occasions.
Former PNE striker David Nugent saw a low shot from outside the box whistle just wide, then Lawrence blazed over the bar after getting behind the defence down the right channel.
Wilson hit the woodwork for the second time as the interval approached, his shot from the edge of the box striking the post - Declan Rudd appeared to leave it.
North End looked like they had received a few stern words from Alex Neil during the interval by the manner they started the second half.
Three minutes in, Hughes got down the left-wing and lifted a cross into the middle which Stockley got underneath and headed over.
Pearson's fine pass then played in Darnell Fisher down the right hand side of the box in the 51st minute, the right-back's shot at the near post saved with an outstretched boot by keeper Roos.
Potts' driving run took him down the inside left channel, the midfielder then cutting inside on to his right foot before curling a shot across goal and wide of the far post.
A triple chance came North End's way in a goalmouth scramble-and-a-half with 62 minutes played.
Sean Maguire lifted a cross from the left side of the box over to the far post where Gallagher's volley was parried by Roos.
Potts' follow-up shot hit team-mate Browne, the rebound falling into the path of Fisher - his shot blocked by a Derby leg.
The Lilywhites pushed again, another effort from Potts saved with his feet by the keeper.
Maguire's 79th minute angled shot forced Roos into a diving save to his left, then Potts broke into the box to reach a Maguire pass but couldn;t get the ball out from under his feet and the chance went begging.
PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Storey, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Gallagher (Barkhuizen 79), Potts, Browne, Maguire, Stockley (Nmecha 65). Subs (not used): Earl, Clarke, Johnson, Ledson, Ripley.
Derby: Roos, Holmes, Tomori, Koegh, Malone, Evans, Bryson, Wilson, Lawrence, Waghorn (Bennett 65), Nugent (Wisdom 69). Subs (not used): Jozefzoon, Johnson, MacDonald, Huddlestone, Carson.
Referee: Darren Bond (Wigan)
Attendance: 12,124 (963 away)