Tom Lawrence adds to his collection of wonder goals but Town denied late on
The Leicester loanee shuffled his feet to leave Preston’s defence bamboozled and then blasted in a superb right foot effort from the angle of the area to give Blues an early lead.
Bart Bialkowski denied Aiden McGeady with a brilliant save and it looked as though Town would hold on for the win until Jordan Hugill volleyed in from close range on 89 minutes.
Town gave a debut to Toumani Diagouraga in one of five changes to the side that lost at Huddersfield last week, Bialkowski returning to the team after recovering from illness.
Daniel Johnson fired high and wide for the home side as Preston began on the front foot, Hugill heading over after good work down the left by the dangerous McGeady.
Blues responded with Jonas Knudsen’s strike cleared by Tom Clarke before Lawrence stunned Deepdale with another brilliant goal, the Wales international leaving two defenders in his wake before thundering a right foot curler into the far corner on 16 minutes.
More Lawrence trickery had Preston’s defence all over the place before he went down in the box but no penalty.
Sears flashed a delivery across goal as Town threatened a second, Sears then denied by Chris Maxwell after he broke down the right flank.
North End had their own penalty claim when McGeady went down under Josh Emmanuel’s challenge but again referee Martin kept his hands by his side.
Paul Gallagher tested Bialkowski from distance with a right foot effort after Ben Pearson had set him up, the ‘keeper then seeing his clearance cannon off Pearson to safety.
McGeady’s cross was cleared by Luke Chambers, the Republic of Ireland international, the main threat for Simon Grayson’s side, then firing over from the edge of the box.
McGeady smashed a right footer over as he continued to carry his personal assault on the away goal but at the other end it needed an excellent save from Maxwell to prevent Sears extending Town’s lead.
Pearson’s volley from McGeady’s cross deflected wide off Hugill, Maxwell gathering from Sears’ cross as Blues maintained the edge until the break.
Emmanuel won an early free-kick for Town in a dangerous area, Lawrence’s delivery cleared by Clarke, Pearson seeing his shot blocked at the other end, then from an excellent Gallagher chipped pass, Callum Robinson wasted a great chance for an equaliser.
Kevin Bru replaced the tiring Diagouraga, while Preston made their first change with Daryl Horgan on for Robinson before the hour.
McGeady sent another effort over the bar, Gallagher making way for Jermaine Beckford in a second switch by the home side.
Brett Pitman’s right foot curler was just over, Sears leading a breakaway that forced a corner with Pitman lashing the ball over from 15 yards.
The former Bournemouth striker made way for David McGoldrick on 74 minutes, Bialkowski then denying McGeady with an excellent save.
Christophe Berra threw himself in the way of Johnson’s piledriver inside the box as Town held firm, Bialkowski denying Beckford and then from a counter Lawrence went close to a second for Blues.
Seconds later, Preston were level with Hugill hooking the ball in from eight yards to give his side a point.
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