PNE 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1
Greg Cunningham had given the Lilywhites a deserved lead after an excellent performance, converting after a through ball from Aiden McGeady with 13 minutes left, but Reach fired into the top corner after a melee in the dying seconds to give the Owls a point.
Paul Gallagher and McGeady returned to the starting line-up after injury, playing on the flanks, with Alan Browne and Marnick Vermijl the two to drop to the bench.
And in the first half Gallagher was at the heart of most things as North End dominated the possession and the chances.
As early as the ninth minute the returning No.12 had a strong penalty shout after he colleted a through ball from McGeady, only for Keiren Westwood to come out and collide with him, but match official Andy Woolmer decided a goal kick should be the outcome.
Shortly after the first PNE corner came as Callum Robinson saw a 25 yard shot deflected behind with Westwood scrambling.
At the half’s mid-point Simon Makienok headed wide from cross from left by Robinson after another excellent spell of pressure from PNE.
The Owls made a half-time change to make it three former North Enders in their on pitch team, David Jones joining Adam Reach and Ross Wallace, taking off a forward and switching Reach into attack.
The second half started in much the same fashion though, with Baptiste firing just wide after Clarke’s head down of Gallagher’s right wing cross just five minutes into the half.
Just before the hour mark a brilliant double save from Westwood denied McGeady and then Gallagher and from the resulting corner Makienok had the ball in the back of the net, only for the referee to blow for a foul.
It was Makienok’s last action as on the hour mark Jordan Hugill replaced the Dane, maintaining the 4-4-2 shape that Simon Grayson’s side had operated from the outset.
With 20 minutes to go another decision by the officials ruled out a North End goal as this time Robinson volleyed home Hugill’s knock down, only for the linesman’s flag to go up against the latter.
But with 13 minutes left a wonderful manoeuvre saw the Lilywhites take the lead. McGeady worked the ball into some space on the left, threaded it through to Greg Cunningham who raced in at a tight angle and dinked the ball over Westwood and into the bottom right hand inside side netting.
And looking for a second McGeady hit the base of the post from 25 yards out, with Hugill denied by a brilliant last ditch tackle from Hutchinson from the rebound. From the resulting corner Clarke saw a header saved by Westwood.
Another decision by the match official needed to be made with six minutes left when Hugill burst through onto McGeady’s through ball only for Hutchinson to seemingly bring him down as the last man, but Andy Woolmer adjudged that the defender had got a foot on the ball, when replays suggested otherwise.
But with the last kick of the game North End were denied the win. They defended resolutely and through their bodies in front of a flurry of last minute balls into the box, but eventually it flew out to Reach who fired into the top right hand corner from 15 yards out.
PNE line-up: Maxwell, Baptiste, Cunningham, Pearson, Clarke (c), Huntington, McGeady (Browne, 89), Johnson, Makienok (Hugill, 60), Robinson (Spurr, 86), Gallagher. Subs not used: Lindegaard, Vermijl, Doyle, Pringle, Hugill.
Sheffield Wednesday line-up: Westwood, Fletcher, Reach, Loovens (c), Lees, Palmer (Hunt, 62), Hutchinson, Wallace (Joao, 80), Pudil, Bannan, Nuhiu (Jones, 46). Subs not used: Wildsmith, Sougou, Sasso, Hirst.
Attendance: 14,802 (4,408 Sheffield Wednesday fans)
Referee: Mr A Woolmer