The Lilywhites had to settle for a point in the final game before Christmas after a goalless draw against Neil Harris’ Cardiff City.
Alex Neil’s side had the best of the chances in the Principality, with Sean Maguire going close three times in the opening half and Neil Etheridge making fine saves from Welshman Billy Bodin and Ben Pearson, but the game remained goalless, without Declan Rudd having to make a save.
Tom Clarke skippered the side, playing at right back and Tom Barkhuizen came in, as part of two changes to the side that had made it back-to-back home wins the previous weekend and it was visitors who started and remained on the front throughout the opening period.
The first chance came just seven minutes in as Bodin cut inside onto his left foot and fired a shot that looped just onto roof of net from 25 yards out.
A great chance fell on 12 minutes and Alan Browne controlled down the right with his chest and then drove to the right corner of the box and threaded the ball through to Sean Maguire, whose first time shot found the side-netting from a narrow angle.
Just after the quarter hour mark Paul Gallagher’s cross-field ball to Bodin on the right was pin-point from 50 yards; the No.39 ran and crossed deep and Maguire again rose highest at the back post, but once again found the side-netting.
Just after the mid-point of the first half Bodin was this time denied by Neil Etheridge after a through ball from the right by Browne to Maguire in the box, who then fed the Welsh winger.
Cardiff City’s only chance in the first half came on 28 minutes as they broke through Leandro Bacuna, but he was held up by Paul Huntington, only for the ball to fall for Lee Tomlin, 25 yards out, who dragged his shot just wide of the left-hand post.
Right on half-time Sky Sports’ man of the match Ben Pearson played a superb cross-field ball, to release Maguire down the right. He cut into the penalty area and beat Etheridge, but slid his effort past the outside of the left-hand post.
In the final seconds of the half, Tomlin was lucky to stay on the pitch, only getting a yellow for a high reckless tackle on Gallagher.
The second half was very similar to the first, with PNE dominating the chances. Firstly a Gallagher curler from 20 yards was inches wide of the right-hand post after he started a move in midfield that saw Barkhuizen and Browne link up to set up the No.12.
With 20 minutes left Browne was gifted a great opportunity by Curtis Nelson’s pass across the defence, but he seemed to be caught in two minds, whether to pass or shoot and eventually fired straight at Etheridge.
It was still open in the closing stages and Pearson ran 50 yards on the drive, before firing a hard shot across from the right corner of the penalty area, forcing Etheridge into a fine save and the game ended goalless.
Cardiff City line-up: Etheridge, Peltier, Flint, Bacuna, Glatzel (Madine, 62), Murphy (Ward, 62), Pack (c), Nelson, Tomlin, Mendez-Laing (Paterson, 84), Richards. Subs not used: Smithies, Vaulks, Whyte, Bamba.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Clarke (c), Hughes, Pearson, Bauer, Huntington, Bodin (Stockley, 86), Gallagher (Potts, 44), Maguire, Browne, Barkhuizen (Nugent, 73). Subs not used: Hudson, Harrop, Storey, Ledson.
Attendance: 22,625 (504 PNE fans)
Referee: Mr J Simpson