Preston slam the door again
PRESTON North End recorded their fourth consecutive clean sheet, but they couldn’t find a goal at the other end as they drew at home to Lancashire rivals Bolton Wanderers.
The derby game was the first meeting between the sides since the 2001 Division One Play-Off final, which was the beginning of the Trotters’ 11-year stint in the topflight
Shola Amobi, making his first start for the visitors following his goalscoring debut last weekend, came the closest to finding the back of the net with a looping header that went over.
Calum Woods was also fortunate to remain on the field after bringing down Max Clayton as the last defender. Joe Garner was the main attacking threat from the hosts but the game lacked any fireworks as both managers seemed content on settling for a share of the spoils.
The Lilywhites made one change from their trip to Brighton with last season’s top-scorer Joe Garner coming in for Jordan Hugill, who dropped to the bench.
Neil Lennon made three changes from last weekend’s draw with Leeds as Josh Vela and Ameobi replaced Neil Danns and Gary Madine, while Dorian Dervite came in for the suspended Prince-Desir Gouano.
Garner created the hosts first chance of the evening on the 11th minute, beating two defenders and laying the ball off to Marnick Vermijl on the edge of the area but he scuffed his shot wide. Ben Amos was the busier of the two keepers early on, making a couple of routine stops to deny the lively Garner.
Bolton’s best chance of the first half fell to the veteran Ameobi, making his first league start in over 17 months, but he headed Jay Spearing's free-kick narrowly over the bar after beating Jordan Pickford in the air.
And a minute later controversy arrived. Max Clayton was bundled over by Woods as the winger raced towards goal but referee Dean Whitestone opted for the yellow card when he could easily have shown red.
Jose Manuel Casado stepped up for the resulting free-kick but he lashed it way over the crossbar.
In typical derby style tackles became fiery and the game drew scrappy. Darren Pratley was booked for a ridiculously late sliding tackle on Bailey on the half-hour mark which caused handbags in the penalty area.
Preston controlled the end of the first period but showed little threat at goal as David Wheater and Dorian Dervite dominated the aerial duels.
After the break Amos continued his personal battle with Garner, but the keeper produced a comfortable save from a long-distance effort.
Full-back Casado almost undid all of the visitors’ hard work when he lofted a clearance over the own defence and played substitute Hugill through on goal but the forward failed to connect properly with the ball and Amos gratefully grasped the tame shot.
Lennon introduced Madine from the bench and six minutes from time the forward drilled a low shot towards goal following Clayton’s corner but Pickford was equal to it, palming the ball clear down to his right.
Dervite caused a last minute Halloween scare for Bolton as he connected with a deep Adam Reach cross from the left.
But Amos read the danger and was able to adjust and make the save accordingly and secure a share of the spoils.
CHALLENGE: Daniel Johnson of Preston in action with Dorian Dervite of Bolton