PNE 1 Tranmere Rovers 1
An injury time header from Joe Garner gave North End a point at Deepdale.
Chris Atkinson gave the visitors the lead, sliding home after a swift counter attack by Tranmere with in the 55th minute, but Garner brilliantly headed home Stuart Beavon's cross right on the stroke of the 90 minutes to grab a point for the Lilywhites.
Manager Simon Grayson made two changes to the side that defeated Notts County seven days previous; Josh Brownhill out injured and Stuart Beavon the bench, with loan signing Paul Gallagher joining former Tranmere man Iain Hume in the starting line-up. The formation was also changed, going to a straight 4-4-2.
The visitors started brightly, Declan Rudd making an outstanding save to deny Abdulai Baggie’s close range header from Holmes’ cross.
The preceded both set of fans uniting to give their support to Joe Thompson with a minute’s applause – the Tranmere player starting treatment for cancer.
The opening scare from Tranmere was a rarity in the first half, however, as North End began to dominate possessions and chances. An excellent pass by debutant Gallagher sent Laird down the left on 12 minutes and his driven cross was inches away from both the onrushing Kevin Davies and Hume.
At the mid-point in the half Gallagher tested Welsh international stopper Fon Williams in the Tranmere goal, the custodian needing two attempts to save the No.12’s 25 yard effort, the second at the feet of Hume, closing in fast.
Just after the half hour mark Kevin Davies went close, poking over at the back post, Iain Hume flicking on Tom Clarke’s cross from the right to his strike partner, but on the stretch he couldn’t keep his effort down.
With five minutes left in the half Keith Keane was found by a defence splitting pass by another former Tranmere man John Welsh. PNE’s No.2 raced into a gap, but Fon Williams came out to smother. However, he couldn’t gather the ball and eventually it fell to Welsh who fired just over the bar from 25 yards.
However, the visitors took the lead ten minutes into the second half as they broke and split the North End defend, Chris Atkinson racing through onto a ball right through the middle and sliding into the bottom right hand corner.
Lee Holmes replaced Paul Gallagher on the hour mark and saw a shot deflected wide withon seconds of his introduction and from his corner, Kevin Davies could not keep his header down.
A double change of strikers for North End saw Beavon and Garner sent on to try and get the Lilywhites back into the game and the former almost set up Scott Laird, but the shot from the left wing back was blocked.
As the injury time board went up a brilliant break came down the left, Stuart Beavon crossed and Joe Garner rose highest to brilliant head into the top left hand corner of the Town End goal.
Five minutes was added on; time for John Welsh to whistle a free kick from 25 yards onto the roof of the net, but the game ended all square.
: Rudd, Clarke, Laird, Keane, Huntington, Wright, Humphrey, Welsh, Hume (Beavon, 71), K Davies (Garner, 71), Gallagher (Holmes, 59). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Byrom, Buchanan, Mousinho.PNE line-up
: Fon Williams, D Holmes, Taylor, Hateley (Koumas, 65), Lowe, Baggie, Atkinson, Kirby, Power, McNulty, Ridehalgh. Subs not used: Rowe, Stockton, Jennings, Akpa-Akpro, Boland, Mooney.Tranmere Rovers line-up
: Mr G EltringhamReferee
: 9,496 (755 away fans)Attendance