Preston North End and West Bromwich Albion shared the spoils at Deepdale this afternoon in a match that was perhaps more remembered for the refereeing performance of Andy Davies.
The opening to the game saw the Baggies on the front foot, with North End looking to soak up the pressure they were being put under but the hosts soon got into the match, with the best chance coming after 20 minutes through Patrick Bauer.
The German, who received a blow to the face earlier on from ex-PNE striker Jordan Hugill, headed wide from a corner, and just moments later it was the Baggies who had a big chance through Grady Diangana.
North End stopper Daniel Iversen hit the ball straight at the winger, but he was adjudged to have controlled the ball with his hand before putting it in the back of the net.
The opening goal would come around five minutes later and it was North End who delivered it.
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Ben Whiteman picked up the ball just outside the box after a bit of scrappy play by both sides, and the PNE number four’s effort deflected beyond a helpless Sam Johnstone in-between the sticks to give the Lilywhites the lead.
The Baggies were almost level not long after when Matt Phillips got on the end of Adam Reach’s teasing delivery, but his volley sailed just inches wide of Iversen’s near post.
An equaliser did come just before half-time though and it came from a long missile of a throw-in from Darnell Furlong.
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It was flicked on to the back post where Matty Phillips was waiting, and he made up for losing the ball that led to PNE’s opener by heading the ball into the roof of the net from close range – Iversen and PNE fans though were furious that Furlong was allowed to gain extra yardage on where the throw was taken.
The second half was much of a muchness, with West Brom having a lot of the ball and putting a lot of pressure on PNE but not doing much with it in the final third.
Goalscorer Phillips had a chance from range early in the half but it landed on the roof of Iversen’s net.
Both sides introduced fresh blood onto the pitch in an attempt to find a goal, with Ali McCann and Connor Wickham introduced for PNE and Ismael bringing Callum Robinson and Karlan Grant into the match.
More frustrating refereeing occurred though as Davies ignored Wickham’s protests of being dragged down on the edge of the box by Kyle Bartley and also ignored his linesman who was furiously flagging for a foul, and after some deliberation he gave a free-kick to PNE.
It was Ryan Ledson who had the best chance of the half with around 13 minutes to go, with Ryan Ledson thumping a volley towards goal after West Brom failed to deal with an Ali McCann cross, but Johnstone got down well low to his left to deny the former Everton man.
The best chance to win the game fell to the former North Ender in Hugill though on 90 minutes when he was fed through one-on-one by Grant, only to fire straight at Iversen in the PNE goal.
FULL TIME: Preston North End 1-1 West Bromwich Albion