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Preston North End 1-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 28th Jan 2017 17:16

Town target Jordan Hugill netted an 89th minute equaliser for Preston as the Blues drew 1-1 at Deepdale, Tom Lawrence having given the visitors a first-half lead with another brilliant strike.

New loan signing Toumani Diagouraga was handed his Town debut in the centre of midfield alongside Cole Skuse as Mick McCarthy made five changes to the team which lost 2-0 at Huddersfield last week.

Bartosz Bialkowski returned in goal with Dean Gerken back on the bench, while Josh Emmanuel was at right-back in a four-man defence with Jordan Spence and Paul Digby dropping to the bench.

Andre Dozzell was left out of the 18, while Grant Ward started on the right of midfield with Tom Lawrence on the left. Brett Pitman returned to the side alongside Freddie Sears up front.

David McGoldrick and Teddy Bishop were both among the subs having recovered from hamstring and ankle injuries respectively.

New signing Danny Rowe was at the game but wasn’t involved, while Steven Taylor’s international clearance is yet to come through and the former Newcastle man is unlikely to be available before Saturday’s home game with Reading.

In heavy rain on a very slippery pitch, Preston midfielder Daniel Johnson hit the game’s first shot over the bar from just outside the area in the second minute following a corner.

The Lilywhites put the Blues under some early pressure with Town taking several attempts to clear the danger.

Hugill, understood to have been the subject of a rebuffed £2 million bid from the Blues this week, threatened for the first time in the seventh minute when Aiden McGeady, who had made a lively start, found him with an excellent cross from the left but the former Port Vale man headed just over from six yards.

Preston full-back Marnick Vermijl picked up the game’s first booking on 14 for a foul on Skuse as the midfielder, who was playing ahead of Diagouraga, broke forward.

Following the freekick, Emmanuel played in Sears on the right and his cross eventually fell to Jonas Knudsen on the left but the Dane’s shot was blocked.

The Blues were starting to get into the game and on 16 they went in front via another contender in Tom Lawrence’s personal Goal of the Season competition.

The on-loan Leicester man cut inside from the left, taking the ball between two defenders as he did so, before smashing a powerful right-foot shot across Lilywhites keeper Chris Maxwell which bulged the inside of the net.

The Welshman’s eighth goal of the season, which even one or two of the home fans applauded, was right up there among the best of what’s becoming one of the outstanding loan spells at Town.

Lawrence created an opportunity for Sears on 21 with the Blues having been on top after the goal. The 23-year-old cleverly played the ball into the path of the former West Ham man, who ran on to the edge of the box before hitting a low shot which was too close to Maxwell, who claimed.

Hugill shot wide on 25 then, with Berra and the Preston frontman both grounded following clash of heads, referee Steven Martin allowed play to continue and Paul Gallagher hit a low effort which Bialkowski claimed.

In the 27th minute Hugill showed Shefki Kuqi-esque desire to close down as skipper Luke Chambers played the ball back to Bialkowski and blocked the keeper’s kick.

McGeady shot over on 36 with the home side having a fair bit of the ball but with Bialkowski not having been tested further. Three minutes later, the Irish international sent another effort well over.

On 40 Town went close to adding to their lead when Sears cleverly worked his way in on goal on the left of the box. Vermijl looked to have snuffed out the danger but the one-time Colchester man tenaciously got himself back on the ball and tried to squeeze home between the full-back and keeper Maxwell, who just managed to divert the ball past his post.

Preston almost got back on terms a minute later when Ben Pearson volleyed McGeady’s left-wing cross towards goal but hammered the ball against Hugill and it flew wide. Had it not struck Hugill, Pearson’s shot looked destined to hit the net.

That was the final chance of what had been a fairly even half. Preston had started well but the Blues were playing themselves more into the game when Lawrence slammed home his latest stunner.

From there the Lilywhites looked to take the game to Town but their only real chance was Pearson’s late shot which Hugill blocked, while the Blues looked a danger on the break and Sears was unfortunate not to double their lead having battled hard to eke out his opportunity.

The home side were first to threaten after the break, Gallagher finding Robinson with a clever pass but the midfielder shot straight at Bialkowski.

Kevin Bru replaced the tiring Diagouraga on 58, the Frenchman having put in a solid if unspectacular display on his debut. For Preston Jermaine Beckford took over from Gallagher.

Chances were rare at both ends with the teams largely cancelling one another out but on 70 Pitman curled over from the edge of the box.

Two minutes later, the former AFC Bournemouth man sent strike partner Sears away on the right and the ex-Hammer won a corner from which a loose ball fell to Pitman, who shot over when he will feel he might have done better. Seconds later, the Town number 11 was replaced by McGoldrick.

As the game moved into its final 15 minutes the home side began to get on top and put the Blues under pressure with Bialkowski saving sharply from McGeady after the ex-Everton man had got beyond Knudsen.

Moments later, the Irishman stood up a cross to the far post and skipper Tom Clarke’s header was deflected wide.

Kieffer Moore replaced Sears for the final 11 minutes with the Blues still hanging on to their lead, desperately at times, Berra throwing himself in front of a powerful McGeady strike.

On 87 Bialkowski dropped a cross from the right when under pressure and Beckford hit a shot which was blocked by a defender with the keeper grounded.

Lawrence went looking for his second goal of the game soon afterwards but shot straight at Maxwell.

But Preston continued to put the Blues under pressure and in the 89th minute they equalised. Horgan crossed from the right, the ball took a flick on its way over and, perhaps inevitably, it was Hugill who was there to take a touch and confidently slam home from close range.

There was no time for either side to win it and in the end a draw was probably a fair result on the balance of the match.

Town will have felt they would have done enough to deserve the points had they held on, while Preston will believe they put the Blues under pressure for long spells of the second half and were worthy of a point.

The result sees Town remain 14th in the Championship - 10 points from the relegation zone and 10 points from the play-offs - ahead of Tuesday's home game against Derby and next Saturday's visit by Reading.

Preston: Maxwell, Vermijl (Makienok 78), Clarke (c), Huntington, Spurr, Gallagher (Beckford 65), Pearson, Johnson, McGeady, Robinson (Horgan 58), Hugill. Unused: Lindegaard, Boyle, Browne, May.

Town: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Chambers (c), Berra, Skuse, Diagouraga (Bru 58), Ward, Lawrence, Emmanuel, Pitman (McGoldrick 74), Sears (Moore 80). Unused: Gerken, Bishop, Spence, Digby. Referee: Steven Martin (Staffordshire). Att: 10,656 (Town: 365).

Photo: Action Images

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Kentish_Tractor added 17:21 - Jan 28
Credit to Mick for playing the team that most of us would pick, bearing in mind who is out injured and who is not match fit.

Glad we at least competed away from home. I didn't think we'd get anything from this one, so while it's disappointing to concede late on - I'm happy with a point. Well done Town.

Swn98 added 17:22 - Jan 28
would of settled for a point before the game so can't be to disgruntled it was pleasing to hear Alex Mathie say the team showed much better performance sounded if the new players will make a good contribution.

OwainG1992 added 17:22 - Jan 28
All I'll say is exactly what i said to my mate...that little sh*t better sign for us now!! Credit to Lawrence again. Would have taken the draw away to be fair. Good effort lads and we move on.

Penguinblue added 17:24 - Jan 28
A point when we should have had 3.
McCarthy OUT

Everyone call for it Tuesday night

OUT MM - your football is sh@t

TrumptonBlue added 17:26 - Jan 28
Kit looks much better with white shorts. Fancy that.

jas0999 added 17:29 - Jan 28
Decent result in the end. Can't fault the effort and hard work, but ultimately just finished short again. First half sounds as though we should have been behind, but yet another great goal from our loanee Lawrence gave us an undeserved lead. But then we were by miles the better the side, probably unlucky not to be two up at half time. Second half though, it again sounds as if Preston did enough to deserve a draw. Fair result.

For me, we are still not good enough. Whether a win, loss or a draw today. The transfer activity has thrown up a couple of decent cheap punts from the National league. Worth a gamble, but has it strengthened us immediately? No. Longer term planning? Yes. Then we have three very short term solutions and I'm not convinced any are really any better than we have to push us forward. Still, important to give them all a chance. Personally, I'll be disappointed if we don't sign at least one but preferably two larger fee players before the deadline. Give everyone a boost, because to be frank I'm losing interested. I may be alone in that. But I honestly couldn't get too bothered by the game today.

Decent point, but for me it's a game we would have been disappointed to only get a point from previously.

ianmarshall10 added 17:29 - Jan 28
A good point but gutted not to get all 3 Hughill looked well offside for there goal as well.

ip5w1ch added 17:30 - Jan 28
Don't protest on Tuesday night. Get behind the team and see what a difference that support can make to the team's confidence.

bobwya added 17:32 - Jan 28
Penguinblue - you are getting very boring

therein61 added 17:33 - Jan 28
Much better performance and selection shame to not get 3 points!! if we are serious in our intent then we must pull out all the stops to get Lawrence if we fail then at least show we have had a damned good go at getting him on board(Marcus could make up his wages by giving him a fictional job in his empire)

martin587 added 17:34 - Jan 28
I was at the game today and I will take the draw.We were outplayed for a lot of the game but we hung on and defended well.
I'm not an MM fan but I will give him credit for setting out a good team today and we did OK.
Once again Tom was outstanding and his goal was superb,just wish we could afford to sign him as he is real quality.
Full credit to the team today and let's just hope we can continue on the Tuesday game.
At last a quite happy drive home.

Ipswichbusiness added 17:35 - Jan 28
I wasn't there, but it sounds like a much better performance and a well earnt away point. One problem is that neither of the goal scorers belongs to us. Please Mr Evans, could we have £4,000,000 to sign the pair?

MicksZzzTactics added 17:35 - Jan 28
In hindsight, wonderful wonderful hindsight, ehmmm PERHAPS you should have offered 3 mill for that 'UNproper bloke' Hugill after all shouldn't you Scrooge Evans??? :-)

Arrrgh!!! And here I was, beyond ecstatic as the game clock reached 89 .... and just about to make a TWTD postthat read: "Only 8 points from a play-off place" :-)

Ohhhh well we shouldn't really complain fellow fans, cause don't you (or Master Mick especially!) "FORGET"! that we have grabbed plenty of points, many of them fortuitously, very very late ourselves really in no less than on a handful of occasions since around the beginning of November!

PS: In FA Cup news, how about them pesky Lincoln City? Made a national (and beyond!) laughingstock of us on 1½ occasions, then looked outright awfully non-league'ish and pretty cr@p against Barrow losing 0-3 .... only to regroup and come back a few days later to make a mockery of high-flying promotion hopeful Brighton!!!
Not that it in any form makes our personal embarrassment here in Ipswich over those 2 matches any smaller imho .... however this afternoon's impressive win of theirs can perhaps serve as a refreshing & alleviating "band aid" on that still open wound of ours Id imagine :-) .....In any event congrats to entertaining giant-killerz Lincoln from me and I hope their next league opponent takes them a LOT more serious , cause that would not only perhaps be hmmmm slightly "wise" :-) but simply completely merited & in it's proper place!

DurhamTownFan added 17:36 - Jan 28
You can still protest and sing against the manager/board and get behind the team as well. Something like 'we love our players but our owner is shi*' should do it!

MrDiddle added 17:38 - Jan 28
A good result compared to some of our recent performances. Hopefully the team can build on this and get a win at home tuesday.

Those of you planning to protest on tuesday night - grow a pair, stop whinging and get behind the team. Mick is the manager, Marcus Evans is the owner, get over it. Cant see there being many of you anyway, most of you are gutless keyboard warriors.

Up the town!


TrueBlue1998 added 17:41 - Jan 28
Why don't we get behind the team on Tuesday night?!

runningout added 17:41 - Jan 28
Better I suppose.. Desperately need to be clinical and punish opposition.. We think like a broken record

hucks216 added 17:43 - Jan 28
I get the FFP angle that the club/owner wants to stick to but considering that ME also sponsors the shirts why not just renegotiate that contract and put money in to the club via that avenue so instead of sponsoring the shirts for £3m over 3 years (or whatever it is) why not renegotiate the contract and plow in £3m per year?

Norwichbeater added 17:44 - Jan 28
Shows how low we have got, us fans happy with a point at Preston. 100 percent guaranteed that we wouldn't win even though we were 1 up at half time. The equaliser bored me for being able to read my team so well. I still want MM out, we are going nowhere. I suppose next week we will all be happy with a point at home?? So shall we start celebrating mid table finishes? Sorry for negative post, but I am regular supporter with my 2 young lads and I am embarrassed to show them this football week in week out. Yawn.....

TimmyH added 17:45 - Jan 28
Feel a little underwhelmed to be honest after what has happened the week before, I couldn't see us losing two on the bounce away after Huddersfield last weekend (although our away performances haven't been brilliant) and felt we needed a win to lift the gloom.

As mentioned good to hear a better more competitive performance and a line up which looks better with injuries considered, just need to keep clean sheets which has become a problem, mention to Tom Lawrence once again by far the best outfield attacking player we have, god knows where we be without him at present.

Seasider added 17:46 - Jan 28
Could have won it; but equally could have come away from Lancashire with nothing.

As with most teams the goal gave Town a lift, and they played with a bit more confidence than of late ; but annoyingly,as they so often do, lost two points right at the end of normal time, and it had to be Hugill !

McGreedy tormented Ipswich on our right;but as I have hinted in my mis-spelling of his name,tended to shoot when pass would often been better,fortunately for us,not very effectively.

Did Mick instruct his players to try and hold on for the win, or were Ipswich forced back by superior PNE play in second half?Micks sub of Kieffer Moore instead of a defender certainly seemed that it wasn't the Managers intention to try to hang on,and Lawrence had a chance to double his tally before the late equaliser.

The new boys didn't let their new team down;so its now two home games which hopefully ITFC can get something out of to maintain their lower mid table mediocrity.

Slambo added 17:50 - Jan 28
Nice to come on here and read some calm, measured comments even after the disappointment of throwing away the 3 points. People forget that we've been playing some decent stuff lately, the Lincoln horror show obviously the exception. Also glad to see the negative posters called out. As for this 'protest' planned on Tuesday: in protest against the moaning minority of fans at this club I intend to sing from the first minute to the 90th. Feel free to join in...

irishtim added 17:53 - Jan 28
Hopefully The Crowd Get Behind The Team Tuesday Night. Still Think We Have A Good Squad But Need 2-3 Good Newcomers to go straight into contention.

Dissboyitfc added 17:55 - Jan 28
Sounded like a better performance in the first half but were up against it and outplayed in the second.

To everybody who keeps bleating on about investment, have preston spent loads ?

It is still very much a case of MM out for me. Personally i wont set foot inside portman road until he is gone.

The football club is selling a product which is expensive and very poor to say the least. they have a responsibility to provide an entertaining product. The football on show is not good enough and it hasnt been for far too long! I dont condone booing players of ipswich Town fc. So please dont boo during the game.

Bluetone added 17:55 - Jan 28
Blimey has McCarthy found the road to Damascus on his sat nav.

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