Rotherham United 0 PNE 0
North End started the 2013/14 season with three consecutive clean sheets for the first time since the 1970/71 season with a stalemate at Steve Evans; Rotherham United.
The best chance of the game saw Bailey Wright crash a header against the cross bar from Lee Holmes' second half corner just after the hour mark, but neither side could break the deadlock.
It was North End’s first ever visit to the New York Stadium and they started brightly, passing the ball around crisply and dominating the possession in the early stages.
Scott Shearer was by far the busier keeper and he was needed to make a fine save on 18 minutes, palming Keith Keane’s shot away after another spell of good passing from the Lilywhites.
The home side’s best chance came just before the half hour mark when summer recruit Matt Tubbs found himself with time and space behind the North End defence, but he could only pull his effort wide of the left hand post from 12 yards out.
Moments later North End won a corner and a deep inswinger by Lee Holmes was over towards the back post, where it was met by Kevin Davies, but his goalbound effort was cleared off the line, although John Welsh almost latched onto the return ball as he dribbled back into the box, but couldn’t get a shot away to worry the Millers’ custodian.
Lee Holmes had been selected in the ‘No.10’ role behind Kevin Davies and looked a constant threat and he hit a second snap volley from Davies’ flick on 36 minutes, Shearer palming the ball round the post for a corner.
Right on the half-time whistle Holmes again was unable to control a volley as John Welsh’s corner was headed out to the edge of the box.
North End started the second half brightly and on 54 minutes the home side had to clear as North End pressed with menace down the right; a Lee Holmes corner followed and Bailey Wright met the delivery with a powerful header but saw his effort smash back off the cross bar and away to safety.
The pressure at the start of the second period was intense from North End with free kicks and corners aplenty. Just after the hour mark a Davies header was deflected over for another corner, this time from Welsh's delivery.
With just over 15 minutes to go Scott Laird made his first return to competitive action since November, replacing Will Hayhurst, to a great reaction from the North End faithful.
A Pringle free kick on the right hand corner of the box on 76 minutes required Declan Rudd to make a fine punch and on the break Chris Humphrey would have been away until Chris Morgan brought him down, the ex-North Ender and Millers' skipper taking a yellow card for his team.
Trevor Kettle added three minutes on at the end of the game, but neither side could fashion a winner.
: Shearer, Skarz, Arnason, Morgan, Bradley, Tubbs (Worrall, 57), Frecklington, O’Connor, Pringle, Agard, Revell. Subs not used: Collin, Brindley, Davis, Milsom, Noble, Tidser.Rotherham United line-up
: Rudd, Clarke, Buchanan, Keane, Huntingtion, Wright, Humphrey (Garner, 80), Welsh, K Davies, Holmes (Monakana, 87), Hayhurst (Laird, 74). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Wroe, Cummins, Mousinho.Preston North End line-up
: 8,454 (1,236 away fans)Attendance
: Mr T KettleReferee