Preston North End 1 Norwich City 1 match report: Substitute Brad Potts rescues a draw with a last-gasp equaliser against the Championship leaders
Preston North End interim head coach Frankie McAvoy started his reign with a draw against Norwich City courtesy of a stoppage-time equaliser from Brad Potts.
Substitute Potts struck in the 95th minute at Deepdale, his shot on the turn from the left corner of the box deflecting past Canaries keeper Tim Krul at his near post.
Based on their second half performance, North End could count themselves somewhat fortunate to have got the draw.
Norwich's Teemu Pukki had struck the bar and missed a couple of earlier one-on-ones.
Attacking wise, PNE has run out of ideas in the second period as they chased parity - Emiliano Buendia having given the visitors the lead in the 18th minute with a fine finish from 20 yards.
They had been decent enough in that first 45 minutes. Emil Riis missing a great chance at 0-0 when put clear on goal.
The second half became more of a struggle though, before Potts' late intervention gave McAvoy's men what might yet prove a vital point in their quest to steer clear of a relegation battle.
McAvoy had put down a marker with his team selection, making three changes and going for a different formation.
In came Riis, Tom Barkhuizen and Andrew Hughes, with Ben Whiteman and Anthony Gordon dropping to the bench while Joe Rafferty didn't make the matchday squad.
North End started in a 4-4-2 formation, with a midfield diamond - that had Ryan Ledson had the base, Daniel Johnson and Barkhuizen further forward, with Scott Sinclair at the point.
Riis made early inroads into the Canaries defence, chasing Liam Lindsay's clipped pass down the left channel.
He got there just ahead of Krul on the side of the box and lifted a cross into the middle, Grant Hanley heading it clear.
Ched Evans fired a shot on the turn wide of the target after Sinclair's scuffed effort from a Barkhuizen long throw-in had fallen into his path.
Both sides had good chances to score around the quarter hour mark, the first falling the way of the visitors.
Todd Cantwell's low shot from the left hit Jordan Storey and span across the box to Bali Mumba, the right-back's shot well smothered by Daniel Iversen who had been quick to read the danger.
Up field went North End from there, Evans' clever flick playing in Riis behind the Norwich defence.
Riis didn't look the most assured as he moved clear into the box and went for placement rather than power, his side-foot shot too near to Krul who blocked with his legs.
Within three minutes of that opportunity, Norwich took the lead.
Lindsay blocked Pukki's shot on the edge of the box and was down on the floor winded as the ball broke free into midfield.
Buendia chased back to get possession then moved towards the Preston box, no challenge going in with the North End players seemingly distracted by Lindsay having been grounded.
Taking advantage of the room afforded to him, Buendia pulled the trigger on the edge of the 'D' and found the far bottom corner with a fine left-foot finish.
Norwich had a good patch of pressure after the goal, Pukki twice shooting narrowly wide of the target - the first when put clear, the second having side-stepped a challenge just inside the box.
PNE came more into the game again as half-time approached, Riis seeing a shot hit Hanley on the head and spin wide for a corner - a fine tackle by Lindsay and subsequent pass from Hughes presenting the Dane with the shooting opportunity.
After a bright start from North End to the second half in which Riis twice threatened openings down the right hand side of the box, there was a big let-off in the 55th minute.
Barkhuizen lost possession in midfield, Norwich moving the ball quickly to Pukki down the right channel.
The Finn cut into the box and unleashed a powerful shot at the near post which bounced against the underside of the bar and back out across the box.
As the second half went on the game lost its flow, North End finding gaps hard to find as Norwich dropped into a solid shape and were content to counter.
McAvoy used all five substitutions, Jayson Molumby and Potts introduced early, then came a triple change when Gordon, Sean Maguire and Whiteman joined the action.
The danger Norwich offered on the counter attack was displayed in the 76th minute, Buendia pass playing Pukki in behind the PNE back line.
From the right of goal, Pukki pulled a low shot across Iversen and inches wide of the far wide.
Just as it looked like time had run out on North End, they conjured up an equaliser out of nothing.
Four minutes of stoppage-time had been signalled and the clock was already a few seconds beyond that when a ball from the right dropped across the box.
Potts got the better of Mumba to get it under control on the corner of the box. He turned and hit a low shot which got a deflection and beat Krul at his near post.
The North End players ran to celebrate with McAvoy in the technical area as they savoured a point.
PNE: Iversen, van den Berg, Storey, Lindsay, Hughes, Sinclair (Molumby 57), Ledson, Johnson (Potts 64), Barkhuizen (Maguire 71), Riis (Gordon 71), Evans (Whiteman 71). Subs (not used): Huntington, Bayliss, Bodin, Hudson.
Norwich: Krul, Mumba, Hanley, Omobamidele, Quintilla, McLean, Sorsensen, Buendia (Skipp 81), Dowell (Stiepermann 72), Cantwell (Hernandez 89), Pukki (Hugill 89). Subs (not used): Vrancic, Placheta, Martin, Tettey, Nyland.
Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire)
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