IT’S DOYLE AT THE DEATH FOR PRESTON
PERHAPS fittingly in Cheltenham week, Preston grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser against QPR which keeps both sides positioned nicely back in the pack, ready to make a surge for the Championship play-offs should those above them stumble over the final fences.
Eoin Doyle’s 92nd-minute header snatched the point for Preston after QPR took an early lead thanks to Sebastian Polter’s header.
Preston, now unbeaten in five at Deepdale, remain tenth, two points clear of QPR, and nine points adrift of the top six.
Manager Simon Grayson says they are not discussing the play-offs and praised the fighting spirit of his side.
“We’ve never talked about the play-offs, we just see where it goes after every game,” Grayson said.
“Nobody expects us to get to that level but we’ll finish where we deserve to finish. I thought a point was the least we deserved here.
“We played well, passed it well but just lacked that little bit of quality in the right areas. We maybe didn’t have the options in the box at times and the decision-making was a bit short of where we needed it to be.
“We’ve got good character and good spirit about us. Players gave everything they’ve got and showed the spirit required to get something out of games.”
QPR went ahead in just the fifth minute when Alejandro Faurlin’s corner from the right was on a plate for the onrushing Polter, who thumped a header home from four yards.
The hosts dominated the ball after going behind and went close again on 16 minutes when a determined run into the area by Daniel Johnson led to his poke at goal being deflected just wide.
In the 58th minute as Paul Gallagher’s corner broke to Greg Cunningham but his strike from six yards was blocked by Karl Henry.
Set-pieces were proving to be the major threat for both teams and Preston should have equalised from a Gallagher corner after 70 minutes, but Jordan Hugill headed well over from six yards. In the 81st minute, last-man Tom Clarke pulled back Tjaronn Chery but was perhaps fortunate to only receive a yellow card.
QPR’s top scorer Chery then had two great opportunities to wrap the game up in the 83rd minute, first curling a 30-yard free-kick just wide before going clean through on goal only to be denied by Anders Lindegaard. In the second minute of injury time, Doyle snatched the point when he flicked home a nearpost header from eight yards after a superb cross from Cunningham.
And the forward had the chance to win it for Preston a minute later as he rose highest in the area, but nodded straight at Alex Smithies.
QPR boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink hit out at referee Andy Woolmer and refused to rule out a late play-off push.
“I’m not going to talk about the referee but we all know the rules,” former Chelsea hitman and Burton Albion boss Hasselbaink said.
“It’s a proper pull back of the shirt, he almost took the shirt off the boy and he’s the last man.You can’t say no more.
“I think we deserved the three points.We passed the ball well and I didn’t see them scoring.
“You have to take chances to make it two nil but it wasn’t meant to be.
“We have to take the result on the chin.
“Decisions went against us, we didn’t take some chances but the performance was good and that is promising. We need to finish the season strong and what happens, happens.”
TUSSLE: Callum Robinson of Preston North End in action with Karl Henry of QPR