Sheffield United 2 Preston North End 2 match report: Stoppage-time delight for PNE at Bramall Lane

Emil Riis's 95th minute equaliser earned Preston North End a deserved draw with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 10:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 10:02 pm

Riis struck with barely 30 seconds of an absorbing contest remaining, firing home at the far post from Jordan Storey's cross.

It looked like the three points had gone the way of the Blades when substitute Sander Berge put them 2-1 ahead in the 85th minute.

But North End dug deep and struck their last-gasp leveller right in front the travelling supporters.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Emil Riis fires home Preston North End's stoppage-time equaliser against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane

That was the second time Frankie McAvoy's men had come from behind in South Yorkshire.

Morgan Gibbs-White gave the hosts an eighth minute lead, skipper Daniel Johnson levelling in the 19th minute = helped by a mistake from Sweden international goalkeeper Robin Olsen who was making his United debut.

PNE were worthy of a draw so Berge's goal moments after Riis had been denied by Olsen in a one-on-one situation, looked like being a hammer blow.

They had other ideas though, Riis showing more composure to find the net in dramatic style.

PNE celebrate Daniel Johnson's goal in the first half

The draw stretched their unbeaten Championship run to a fourth game, with eight points gathered on that run,.

North End had the first sight of goal in the contest, Johnson's cross field ball from right to left finding Josh Earl on the far side of the box.

The wing-back caught it first timer, cushioning a left-foot volley back across goal and wide of the far post.

Within a minute or so of that chance, the Blades drew first blood at the other end.

North End striker Sean Maguire has a shot blocked against Sheffield United

Patrick Bauer covered a long ball forward from the home side and looked to turn it out of play from a central position.

But his clearance lacked pace and Luke Freeman got the ball on the left-wing, went past Sepp van den Berg and lifted a cross into the middle.

It got flicked on and landed in the path of Gibbs-White who hit a shot into the ground and saw it bounce past the dove of Daniel Iversen.

Billy Sharp guided a header just past the far post from Rhys Norrington-Davies' cross as North End were pinned back after conceding.

Steadily they worked a foothold in the game and drew level in the 19th minute.

Ryan Ledson got possession 15 yards outside his own box and drove a fine diagonal pass over the top of the home back line.

Johnson curved his run to meet it, Olsen charged out of his box to try and intercept, that allowing Johnson to cleverly chest the ball past him and roll a shot into an unguarded net.

Oliver Norwood drove a shot from 20 yards inches over Iversen's bar, before a couple of chances came Sean Maguire's way.

Johnson slid a pass into the box to find Maguire on the half-hour mark, the Irishman's low shot blocked by a defender sliding across him and taking the ball out for a corner.

Seven minutes later, Maguire met a Ledson pass on the half-turn, moved to the edge of the box and hit a low shot which Olsen dived to his right to save.

The hosts should perhaps have retaken the lead three minutes before the interval as a crisp exchange of passes opened up North End.

A low cross from the right came to Freeman in the box and he lifted a first-time shot too high.

Early in the second half, Bauer did well to get across in front of Sharp and take the sting off the striker's shot, the ball looping up for Iversen to gather.

Around the hour mark North End enjoyed a good spell of pressure, their high press winning possession a few times in the United half.

One of those occasions saw Maguire take possession and slip a ball out to the right channel to Emil Riis.

The Dane cut into the box to the right of goal but pulled a low shot across the box and wide of the far post.

In the 74th minute, Riis was pulled back by Norrington-Davies as he broke away down the left-wing, the foul earning the home defender a yellow card.

Ledson delivered the free-kick into the middle, substitute Brad Potts reaching it beyond the far post but seeing his header fly wide.

Iversen came to PNE's rescue three minutes later as Jordan Storey committed himself too early to stop a home counter attack, allowing John Fleck to run through on goal.

Fleck burst into the box but as he tried to lift the ball over Iversen, the PNE keeper reached up to push the ball away and Bauer cleared.

It was North End's turn to have a one-on-one in the 82nd minute, Johnson's pass sending Riis clear in the box.

The striker kept his shot low, the ball clipping the leg of the keeper and going over the bar.

Within 60 seconds of that chance the Lilywhites were caught by a sucker punch for United's second goal.

Fleck drove up field and his pass found Sharp who miscued a shot across the box where it landed in the path of Berge who drove a powerful finish through Iversen's legs into the net.

It looked like that goal had sucked the life out of North End but they summoned one last burst of energy to score in the fifth minute of stooppage-time.

They won a free-kick on the half-way line, Ledson pumping it into the box. The ball flicked off a Sheffield head which enabled Storey to get in to the right of goal.

Storey lifted the ball across goal to the far post where Riis controlled before firing a shot past the keeper from six yards,

Sheffield United: Olsen, Baldock, Egan. Robinson, Norrington-Davies, Norwood, Fleck, Gibbs-White, Ndiaye (Brewster 71), Freeman (Berge 60), Sharp.. Subs (not used): Basham, McBurnlie, Bogle, Hourihane, Foderingham.

PNE: PNE: Iversen, Storey, Bauer (Murphy 88) Hughes, van den Berg, Whiteman, Ledson, Earl, Johnson (McCann 83), Maguire (Potts 70), Riis. Subs (not used): Lindsay, Cunningham, Browne, Rudd.

Referee Geoff Eltringham (County Durham)

Attendance: 25,463

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here