Preston North End 0 Queens Park Rangers 0 match report: Anthony Gordon impresses for PNE in stalemate at Deepdale
Preston North End shared the spoils with Queens Park Rangers in what was an entertaining contest for a goalless draw at Deepdale.
The Lilywhites had the game's most exciting player in Anthony Gordon, the young Everton loanee behind a lot of what the hosts did going forward.
Fellow loanee, Sepp van den Berg, borrowed from Liverpool, had a solid game at right-back in his first start for North End.
It was a contest which could quite easily have finished 4-3 rather than 0-0.
The first half especially saw a host of chances in both boxes, the game open to say the least.
Daniel Iversen saved well with his legs from Lyndon Dykes early on, while Gordon and van den Berg had efforts pushed behind by QPR keeper Sent Dieng.
This was only North End's fourth draw of the season and while they will feel they should have won the game, it at least halted the run of successive defeats.
North End reverted to a 4-2-3-1 system after going 3-4-1-2 in last Saturday's 4-0 defeat at Cardiff City.
Van den Berg, Scott Sinclair, Gordon and Brad Potts came into the side, with Daniel Johnson, Jayson Molumby, Emil Riis and the injured Liam Lindsay dropping out.
Jordan Storey was partnered by Andrew Hughes at centre-half in a re-jigged back four.
Alan Browne and Ben Whiteman were the midfield duo, Potts playing further, while Gordon and Sinclair operated down the wings.
The first half was very open with chances coming at both ends.
North End goalkeeper Iversen saved superbly in the sixth minute to prevent his side falling behind.
Dykes got behind the home defence from Todd Kane's pass, his low shot seemingly destined for the net until Iversen stuck out his right-foot to block at close quarters from the QPR front man.
Gordon curled an 11th minute free-kick round the wall, it staying low and forcing Dieng to save by the foot of the post and push it behind.
The resulting corner, delivered by Gordon, was met by van den Berg, his header looping up into the air and held on the line by Dieng.
Dykes got the wrong side of the PNE defence again, lifting a shot over Iversen from the left hand side of the box and seeing it drop beyond the far post.
North End countered from there, the ball worked up to Gordon who turned a defender inside out in the box before having a shot which Dieng got in the way of to block.
Before the 20-minute mark had been reached another chance came PNE's way, Gordon's corner flicked on to van den Berg at the far post, his header tipped over by the keeper,
Potts slipped as he struck a shot from 10 yards after a corner had dropped into his path, the ball flying wide when he should have hit the target.
Two sights of goal came Preston's way shortly before half-time.
With 45 minutes played, van den Berg's cross from the right found the run of Gordon in the box but the winger sent a header over the bar.
Then in first-half stoppage-time, Gordon's ball in from the left-wing found Potts who laid it into the path of Ched Evans, the striker driving a shot wide.
QPR were quick out of the block for the second half, starting it well, Charlie Austin firing wide of the far post after a corner had travelled across the box.
Cunningham and Potts put shots over the bar as North End worked their way back into the game, with Sinclair forcing a comfortably save from the keeper after cutting inside from the right channel.
Sinclair should have given PNE the lead after an hour, some good passing and movement creating the chance.
Potts worked the ball into Cunningham's path down the left hand side of the box, the Irishman's low cross finding Sinclair who fired too high.
Iversen was called into action with a quarter of an hour left, getting down well to hold Austin's low shot, QPR having countered from van den Berg's loose pass.
Back down at the other, Gordon's corner from the right was headed wide of the near post by Evans.
Gordon was replaced by Tom Barkhuizen in the 80th minute, North End losing some of their threat from that point - the game rather petering out in the closing stages.
PNE: Iversen, van den Berg, Storey, Hughes, Cunningham, Browne, Whiteman, Sinclair, Potts (Johnson 87), Gordon (Barkhuizen 80), Evans (Riis 87). Subs (not used): Bayliss, Rafferty, Molumby, Huntington, Rodwell-Grant, Ripley.
QPR: Dieng, Dickie, Cameron, Barbet, Kane, Ball, Johansen (Field 78), Wallace, Chair, Dykes (Willock 65), Austin (Bonne 78). Subs (not used): Kakay, Hamalainen, Kelman, Adomah, Lumley.
Referee: Darren England (Barnsley)
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