PNE 3 Rotherham United 3
North End had to settle for a point at Deepdale, despite coming from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, the Millers grabbing a late equaliser to snatch a draw.
The visitors got off to a blistering start and were two up with less than ten minutes gone, Lee Frecklington from a very tight angle, doubled by a Tom Clarke own goal, flicking in Ben Pringle’s free kick.
Craig Davies reduced the deficit before the interval, finishing off the Lilywhites’ best move of the half finishing with the outside of his right foot from 15 yards out into the bottom left corner.
The game was turned on its head on the hour mark, Paul Gallagher levelled things, before Joe Garner headed in to put North End ahead four minutes later, however, a Frecklington shot was diverted into the goal off Scott Laird to level things up with two minutes to go to grab a share of the spoils.
Manager Simon Grayson had made one change to the side that were victorious at Colchester the previous weekend, Scott Wiseman returning to replace Jack King, with a switch to a 4-4-2 formation.
The Millers took the lead on just six minutes, on loan full back James Tavernier raced down the right hand side, before passing a ball into Lee Frecklington in a right hand channel, he went to the byline and squeezed in a shot from a very tight angle into the top left hand corner.
And it was 2-0 after only nine minutes. A soft free kick was awarded on the right hand touchline and Ben Pringle’s inswinging cross took a couple of deflections, the last coming from Tom Clarke as he flicked into his own net, the top left hand corner, giving Declan Rudd no chance.
From that point in the opening period, Rudd was a mere spectator as North End pressed hard to get back into the game.
At the mid-point in the half, a great ball from Neil Kilkenny sent Chris Humphrey in on goal, but the winger’s first touch was just over-hit, which meant his shooting chance was taken away, with former PNE centre half Claude Davis rushing across to make a covering clearance.
Two minutes later and Paul Gallagher was upended; the No.12’s free kick was only cleared to top scorer Joe Garner, whose initial shot was blocked, but the front man seemed to be hauled down by Davis as the ball came back in, but the match official, James Adcock, waved away the claims, one of many decisions he made that the crowd did not agree with.
Just after the half hour mark a chance fell to Craig Davies. A long ball fell kindly to him in the box, he tried to chip Adam Collin, but the effort came off the head of Tavernier and fell kindly for the Rotherham keeper.
Shortly after the first corner of the game was won by PNE through an over-lapping run by Wiseman. Gallagher’s outswinger was headed down by Scott Laird, but Bailey Wright volleyed over from the edge of the six yard box.
The deficit was finally reduced with eight minutes to go in the half and it was a wonderful goal by PNE. A long ball from Tom Clarke, was flicked on by Garner and Paul Gallagher sent it onwards with an exquisite back flick, into path of Craig Davies, who took control and then with the outside of his right boot fired it low into bottom left hand corner.
The second half started as the first ended, with North End on the front foot.
And on the hour mark they were level. Great build up as North End worked the ball from left to right and then it was fed back inside to Paul Gallagher who lined up a shot with his left foot and curled it into the bottom left hand corner from 20 yards out.
Within four minutes they were in front.
Again the ball was worked brilliantly from one side to another and eventually out to Chris Humphrey on the right hand side, before his perfect cross found Joe Garner on the penalty spot who powered a header into the bottom left hand corner to raise the roof of Deepdale.
There was another twist in the tale, however, with two minutes to go though.
Rotherham had gone two at the back and through everyone forward and the goalkeeper threw a free kick from half way into the penalty box that North End couldn’t clear and Lee Frecklington fired from 12 yards out, deflecteing off Scott Laird and away from Declan Rudd into the net to level things up.
Five minutes were added on by the match official in which both Joe Garner and Craig Davies had good chances, the first lofting over and the second shooting wide and in the end both sides had to settle for a point.
: Rudd, Wiseman (King, 82), Laird, Keane, Clarke, Wright, Humphrey, Kilkenny, C Davies, Garner, Gallagher (Brownhill, 75). Subs not used: Stuckmann, K Davies, Beavon, Holmes, Buchanan.PNE line-up
: Collin, Skarz (Vuckic), Arnason, Davis, Frecklington, Revell, Pringle, Agard, Thomas (Adams, 51), Tavernier, Smallwood (O’Connor, 67). Subs not used: Shearer, Morgan, Addison, Hitchcock.Rotherham United line-up
: 9,524 (925 away fans)Attendance
: Mr J AdcockReferee