Luke Swindlehurst’s return as PNE manager started with a 2-2 home draw after Nottingham Forest came back from a two goal deficit.
Moments later, Chelsea Flanagan found herself through on goal thanks to a direct ball from Beth Stanfield, but the former Manchester City player fired the ball across the goalkeeper and wide of the post.
PNE’s slow start to the game was almost punished when McKechnie stepped up to a free kick just outside the penalty box, and fired against Dan Brown’s crossbar.
Brown’s goal may have been living a charmed life in the early stages of the game, but North End had their fair share of chances too.
Captain, Laura Walker, played an inch perfect ball through to Keeleigh Savage who only had the onrushing keeper to beat, but composure deserted the striker as the ball flew over the crossbar.
Savage then came even closer to opening the scoreline as her shot went marginally wide after a penalty box scrap, with the Forest defence doing well to block Flanagan’s initial shot on goal.
On 22 minutes, Flanagan was again allowed space and to set herself up for a shot on goal that could only hit the bar and bounce off the line.
The opening goal finally arrived on the 26th minute through Savage.
Walker’s through ball should have been intercepted by the defender, however, the ball rolled past her and presented a goal scoring opportunity which Savage finished expertly.
It only took another five minutes for Preston to double their lead through Charlotte Farrell.
The new signing stepped up to a free kick 20-yards-out and smashed the ball into the top right corner of the goal, leaving the Forest ‘keeper with no chance.
There was however still time for the home side to hit the bar twice more before the half-time whistle.
Beth Stanfield’s swinging ball in from the right flank beat the whole Forest defence, only to fall to Flanagan, with her effort striking the bar and bouncing over.
Another new PNE signing, Lagan Makin, was on hand this time to bruise the crossbar, and similarly to Flanagan’s earlier effort, it bounced back onto the line, despite calls from the bench that the ball had crossed the goal line.
With both teams going into half-time, at 2-0, it looked rather comfortable from a PNE perspective.
A much quieter second half was to follow, with the first shot of the half coming from Flanagan who picked up the ball on the edge of the box, made room for herself to turn, before firing wide of the post.
Forest finally began their fightback on the 70th minute through Andrea Bell, as she latched onto a direct ball and used her experience to beat the defender, leaving her one on one with Brown, before subsequently poking the ball into the goal for 2-1.
The momentum seemed to be with Forest, and if there was to be another goal it seemed most likely to come through Bell once more, and she duly delivered.
Once again making the most of a direct ball, Bell left the defence in her trail and slid the ball under Brown for the side’s second goal in five minutes.
Makin’s ambitious effort from long range came so close to putting PNE back in the lead but again hit the bar, and the rebound could only be diverted wide from substitute Schickhoff.
The ball did end up in the Forest goal in the second half, only to be ruled offside as Makin found herself on the end of a Farrell shot which seemed to be hitting the target.
Despite throwing more bodies forward, PNE were unable to fight back for the win and both sides had to settle for a draw.
Next up for PNE Women is an away fixture at Sporting Club Albion on 23rd August, 2pm kick off.