Five things we learned from Preston North End's dramatic 1-1 draw at Ipswich Town
Paul Gallagher hogged the headlines as PNE drew 1-1 at Ipswich Town on Saturday.
The midfielder came off the bench to score with his first touch before finishing the game in goal after Chris Maxwell’s red card.
We take a look at the main talking points below.
Gally can still break new ground at 34!
Paul Gallagher has done plenty of things in his career but this was a new one. Introduced off the bench the experienced midfielder scored with his first touch, firing a low free-kick beyond Bartosz Bialkowski from just inside the 'D'. As impressive as that was, a fine set piece is par for the course from the 34-year-old. What isn't is going in goal which is exactly what he had to do two minutes after scoring when Chris Maxwell was sent off. If Ipswich will rue one thing it is that they didn't test the stand in more. He made one save from a Danny Rowe volley, an impressive one for a stand-in, but was well protected in the closing stages.
Maxwell always walking a fine line
One of Chris Maxwell's main strengths is how fleet of foot he is. But it can also be an Achilles heel when it goes even slightly wrong. Replays suggest that the 'keeper was hard done by for his first yellow card. Josh Earl's backpass was overhit with the 'keeper taking the ball beyond Freddie Sears before he was adjudged to have brought down Jordan Roberts, much to PNE's dismay. It looks like he got to the ball first but when on a yellow card the second challenge on Kayden Jackson is one he cannot afford to make. Maxwell’s style of play means this will happen and both his manager and team-mate Gallagher defended him post-match. Has done enough in recent games to come back in for Declan Rudd after his ban.
Scrap at wrong end of table shows no sign of ending
Alex Neil said pre-match that he is far from comfortable with the position his side find themselves in despite a five-game unbeaten run. Starting the day just two points above the relegation zone this was always going to be a different proposition against the league's bottom side with Paul Lambert having taken over. And so it proved. After points against Hull and Rotherham this was another opportunity for PNE against a side in and around them at the bottom of the table. It was as tough as those two though with the hosts going in front at a crucial time. The second half was a really scrappy affair before the late drama. Like Hull, despite wanting three this is certainly a point gained. Neil’s men are now one of three clubs on 15 points, five clear of Ipswich at the bottom with there still plenty of room for improvement.
Earl’s return not an easy one
Having not played for PNE since the 3-0 defeat at Leeds on September 18, Earl was back in at Portman Road in place of Andrew Hughes. It wasn't an easy introduction back into the side for the left back. Ipswich were on the front foot from the off and Earl was up against arguably their best player in Gwion Edwards and arguably needed more support. He was forced into a few fouls on him with PNE looking far from settled at the back. Late in the half his backpass to Maxwell which resulted in the penalty also put the visitors in trouble. Did come closest to opening the scoring in the first period however, unlucky to see a goal-bound header blocked by Trevoh Chalobah. Earl improved after the break and can take heart from being part of a resolute defensive display.
Maguire needs a different style to make an impact
Back in the starting line-up ,it was a difficult game for Sean Maguire to get into. In the first half with his side up against it a lot of the play was direct, which simply isn't the strikers game. The Irishman was jumping with central defenders time after time and can't be blamed for not making much of an impact in the opening period. Maguire started the second half more from a wide position before moving into the No.10 role when Louis Moult was introduced. His best spell of the game came late on when things opened up and a fine bit of play to set away Lukas Nmecha could have resulted in a winner.