Preston North End 1 Nottingham Forest 1 - Honours even at Deepdale in battle of the play-off chasers

Preston North End had to settle for a draw with Nottingham Forest in an entertaining clash at Deepdale.

By Dave Seddon
Saturday, 11th July 2020, 5:19 pm
Updated Saturday, 11th July 2020, 5:22 pm
Jayden Stockley turns to celebrate after scoring Preston's equaliser against Nottingham Forest at Deepdale
Jayden Stockley turns to celebrate after scoring Preston's equaliser against Nottingham Forest at Deepdale

Both of the game's goals came early, Lewis Grabban scoring from the penalty spot in the fifth minutes to put Forest in front.

Jayden Stockley brought North End level in the 15th minute, getting on the end of a fine cross from Brad Potts to score from close range.

In Stockley, the home side had a player bubbling with confidence having scored in midweek at Sheffield Wednesday.

PNE striker Sean Maguire jumps with Nottingham Forest;s Yuri Ribeiro at Deepdale

The big striker led the forward line very impressively against Forest's two big centre-backs Joe Worrall and Michael Dawson.

North End had the clearer chances to go on and win the game, Patrick Bauer seeing a second-half header cleared off the line.

In the closing stages, Sean Maguire and Tom Barkhuizen both had sights of goal as the Lilywhites finished strongly.

However, they couldn't find a winner and the draw kept them in eighth place, two points behind Cardiff City in sixth place.

Preston midfielder Brad Potts looks for a way past Nottingham Forest's Sammy Amoebi

The North End starting XI showed four changes from the win in midweek.

Stockley, Potts, Scott Sinclair - all scorers at Hillsborough - and Daniel Johnson came in.

Alan Browne missed out through injury, with Ryan Ledson, Barkhuizen and Jordan Storey dropping to the bench.

There was another switch in formation, PNE playing with a 4-4-2 after going 3-5-2 at Sheffield Wednesday.

Sean Maguire goes to ground under a challenge from Carl Jenkinson

Stockley and Maguire were the front two, with Potts on the right and Sinclair playing down the left-wing.

Inside the first minute North End created a chance, Maguire played in behind the Forest defence on the left and lifting over a cross which Stockley headed over the bar.

Forest drew first blood in the fifth minute from the penalty spot, the origins of that coming when Maguire was tackled near the Forest box and the visitors swept up field on the break.

Nuno Da Costa showed a good turn of pace to move towards the box, Bauer slow to get across and engage.

Inside the box Ben Pearson collided with Da Costa and the Forest man went to ground, referee Jeremy Simpson pointing to the spot.

It was on the soft side but Pearson did give the referee a decision to make.

Grabban sent Declan Rudd the wrong way from the spot, rolling it low into the corner of the net.

Joe Rafferty's corner at the other end caused a scramble in the goalmouth in which Davies poked a shot goalwards - Ben Watson blocking in the six-yard box.

PNE's equaliser came after an quarter of an hour, Rafferty lifting a ball down the right which Potts brought down under control on the side of the box.

He drilled over a powerful low cross which Stockley met five yards out to guide past goalkeeper Brice Samba.

North End lost the services of Ben Davies just before the interval, the centre-half pulling up as he shepherded a ball out of play.

Storey had already been warming-up for a few minutes and had put his shirt on, so it looked like a change which had been coming anyway.

Ben Pearson's afternoon ended at half-time, the midfielder having collided with team-mate Maguire in first-half stoppage-time and battled on. Ledson replaced him at the start of the second half.

Two chances fell Preston's way in the opening exchanges of the second period.

Just nine seconds had been played when Potts drove a first-time shot from the edge of the box inches over the bar.

Ledson's corner was then met in the middle by Bauer, the centre-back's header cleared off the line by Watson.

Just beyond the hour, Watson delivered a free-kick from the right-wing into the box, Ryan Yates getting above the PNE back line to glance a header wide of the far post.,

North End went close to taking the lead with a chance which was direct in its build-up.

Rudd's goalkick was headed on by Stockley for Potts to latch on to and burst into the box. He got a shot away but Carl Jenkinson slid across to block and take the ball behind for a corner.

A double change in the last few minutes saw Paul Gallagher and Josh Harrop in place of Stockley and Johnson.

Gallagher created a good chance for Maguire in the 85th minute, picking out the run of the Irish striker with a long ball down the left channel.

Maguire chased it into the box and hit a low shot which Samba stuck out a leg to block at the expense of a corner.

As the game hit the 90-minute mark, Harrop got down the right hand side of the box and pulled the ball back into the path of Barkhuizen.

The substitute skipped a challenge and hit a low shot which Michael Dawson managed to block.

In stoppage-time, Barkhuizen's long throw-in was headed out as far as Gallagher 20 yards out, Gallagher's volley clearly catching a deflection and going behind. But the referee awarded a goal kick.

PNE: Rudd, Rafferty, Bauer, Davies (Storey 44), Hughes, Potts, Pearson (Ledson 46), Johnson (Gallagher 82), Sinclair (Barkhuizen 64), Maguire, Stockley (Harrop 82). Subs (not used): Fisher, Nugent, Bodin, Ripley.

Forest: Samba, Jenkinson, Dawson, Worrall, Ribeiro, Watson, Sow, (Silva 68), Yates, Da Costa (Mighten 82), Ameobi (Diakhaby 89), Grabban. Subs (not used): Figueiredo, Carvalho, Semedo, Darikwa, Walker, Smith.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Carnforth)