GRAYSON GLEE AT ‘VALUABLE’ POINT
PRESTON boss Simon Grayson believes the late point earned against Blackburn in this Lancashire derby could turn out to be a valuable one in their late charge for promotion.
Tom Barkhuizen handed North End an early lead but Elliott Bennett and Craig Conway gave Blackburn the advantage heading towards fulltime.
But with 90 minutes on the clock Aiden McGeady’s last-gasp strike rescued a point for the Lilywhites.
“You can never question the character and spirit within the dressing room because they keep going to the very end and who knows where that point comes at the end of the season,” Grayson said.
“It could be very, very valuable and we’re delighted to have not lost the game.
“There’s teams in and around us who have to get into the play-offs. We don’t have to, but ultimately we’re trying to do it.
“I think it had a little bit of everything. It feels like a victory for us, for the supporters and ultimately the point could be valuable.”
After a scrappy start from both sides, Jordan Hugill fed in Barkhuizen who got the better of Ryan Nyambe to slot past Jason Steele and hand Preston a 13thminute lead.
Rovers responded through Bennett’s teasing cross after 20 minutes which Lucas Joao headed straight into Chris Maxwell’s arms, while Derrick Williams’ cross was later headed against the post by the Sheffield Wednesday loanee as Blackburn nearly levelled.
But Bennett made no mistake three minutes before the break with a superb long-range effort from 30 yards which flew past Maxwell.
Joao twisted and turned leaving Preston players on the floor with mesmerising skill to feed in Marvin Emnes just before half-time, who thought he had given Rovers the lead only to be flagged offside.
North End winger Daryl Horgan delivered a sublime cross after the break for Barkhuizen at the back post but the striker’s finishing let him down.
And Rovers took a 56th-minute lead when the Lilywhites defence fell asleep and Emnes slipped in Conway to slot past Maxwell.
Steele was called into action to keep out Paul Gallagher’s low 82ndminute effort as Preston sought an eqauliser, while Paul Huntington thought he had rescued a point with a last-gasp header only to be flagged offside.
But McGeady struck deep into injury time after receiving Clarke’s cut back and firing past Steele to salvage a late draw for the Lilywhites.
Despite now being seven games unbeaten as Blackburn boss, Tony Mowbray admitted frustration at the amount of draws his side have produced in their fight against relegation.
“It’ll go down right to the death, I’m pretty sure,” he said. “It’s just a frustration that seven games with five draws is too many draws.
“And yet you have to take a huge positive that they’re unbeaten in them seven games against some teams who are at the top end of the table competing to try and make the play-offs.
“The team’s pretty devastated in there but we have to take it on the chin, we have to look at the positives.
“But realise along the way we have to manage games better and we have to see them ones out and get the three points.”
SO CLOSE: Blackburn Rovers’ Elliott Bennett scores their first goal and, inset, Sam Gallagher looks dejected at full-time