Birthday boy Sam Livesey missed a penalty and scored a last minute equaliser as Preston secured a hard-fought point at Walsall.
But Preston’s number nine made amends as he headed home from a corner to earn a point for his side, in a game where both teams were guilty of missing opportunities to take all three points.
Preston Manager Nick Harrison said: “It would have been great to come away with a win but at the end of the day we’ve got an opposition to beat and they’re not going to let us win, so in that respect it was a good battle.
“I just thought it was a good reaction from the players to keep going, work hard and get the point that they deserved.”
Preston started the game the brighter, forcing a series of corners inside the first ten minutes.
But the first real chance of the game went to Walsall as Tevin Shakespeare fired over the ‘bar having been played through on goal.
But it was Preston that really should have been ahead at half-time.
The visitors were awarded a penalty as Jordan Sangha was judged to have handled the ball.
Having missed all three penalties in their FA Youth Cup defeat to Crewe on Wednesday, Livesey continued the trend as he fired over from 12 yards just before the break.
At the start of the second half Preston were made to rue their penalty miss as Pooni scored from six yards out as the visitors were unable to clear a corner.
As the rain continued to pour down at the Birmingham Country Ground, Preston were forced to weather the storm of Walsall attacks, as the hosts were denied a second thanks to a goal-line clearance from Sean Whelan.
Preston then had Ross Dalton to thank as he produced a fine double save to keep his side in the match.
As the game went on, Preston began to get a grip of the conditions and force chances of their own.
Adam Joseph Robinson’s deflected free kick hit the ‘bar and there were also strong appeals for a penalty as Eddie Dsane felt he was dragged down in the box.
But Walsall looked dangerous on the break and Shakespeare once again brought the best out of Dalton, who produced another good save one-on-one.
Substitute Luke Pritchard saw an effort narrowly fly wide as it began to look like it just was not to be Preston’s day.
But having battled and worked hard the entire game, Livesey was rewarded for his efforts as he headed home from a corner in the final minute to break Walsall’s resistance, but it was a goal that Preston
The header was the last chance of the game as the draw was confirmed; although both sides may feel a little disappointed knowing they created enough chances to win the game.
Whilst Livesey was frustrated to have missed the penalty in the first half, he and his side’s endeavour meant Preston were not to be denied a result.
He said: ““I think we got what we deserved out of the game to be honest.
“We were poor for the first 20 minutes of the second half, but we got back into it, everyone worked well and we all dug in and showed good desire to get back into the game and get a goal.”
Having been forced into a couple of changes due to the midweek fixture, Harrison was pleased with his side’s performance, although he knows that his team must take their chances if they are to really push on.
“The game on Wednesday was good, it was a hard game that took a lot out of the players’ legs which is why we made a couple of changes, but really it was the reaction that we wanted.
“It was great to get the penalty but it’s another one that we’ve missed which isn’t great, but I thought we started really slowly second half which is disappointing because in the first half I thought we started the game well.”
PNE: Dalton, Quigley, Whelan, Roscoe, Sampson, Hagon, A Joseph Robinson, A James Robinson, Livesey, Boyd, Lunney.
Walsall: Jezeph, Owen, Kane, Sangha, Rowley, Smith, Delaney, Pooni, Shakespeare, Rowley, Henry.