PNE 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 0
Calum Woods was an inch away from grabbing his first goal for the Club, but in the end both sides had to settle for a point with a goalless draw at Deepdale.
The wing back smashed a volley against the underside of the cross bar in the best chance of the game, with Jamie Murphy seeing the visitors best chance saved after a quick break.
A PNE change was enforced in the last 90 minutes before kick-off when Anders Lindegaard was taken ill and this meant a league and home debut for Chris Kirkland, himself just back from injury.
In reality Kirkland was mostly a spectator in the first half with neither goalkeeper threatened too often.
The visitors certainly had more of the possession in the first 35 minutes, with the Lilywhites giving the ball away too easily and failing to find a pass on too many occasions.
When North End did pass the ball it created space and a Daniel Johnson pass found Adam Reach who shot across goal narrowly wide.
From a corner in front of the Town End, with the home side turned to play that way in the opening period, Paul Huntington rose highest and powered a downward header, meeting Paul Gallagher’s cross, but it was straight at David Stockdale in the Albion goal.
At the other end as the half-time whistle approached Jamie Murphy fired home after collecting a flick on, but the assistant’s flag was up long before the ball had found the net.
Seven minutes after the break some better incisive movement of the ball from North End gave Joe Garner a chance to add to his 100 goals, but his effort from the edge of the ‘D’ took a deflection and over the bar. From the resulting second corner Brighton had to scramble the ball away with three players attacking a high ball.
They were now raising their game and Calum Woods came a coat of paint away from his first goal for the Club when Adam Reach raced down the left and delivered deep to the back post where the No.15 slammed a shot against the underside of the bar.
Another Reach cross was headed on target by Joe Garner, but into the arms of Stockdale, but the tempo was now raised, as was the atmosphere on the terraces with it.
At the other end a superb save from Kirkland denied Jamie Murphy a breakaway goal after a misplaced pass in the opposition’s half by Simon Grayson’s men.
With 18 minutes left Reach met a cleared corner with a volley that was blocked on the six yard line by Dunk, but in the end the game ended goalless and the Lilywhites had to settle for another point.
: Kirkland, Woods, Cunningham (Robinson, 82), Clarke (c), Huntington, Wright, Browne, Gallagher, Johnson (Hugill, 90), Reach, Garner (Doyle, 88). Subs not used: Hudson, Vermijl, Pearson, Welsh.PNE line-up
: Stockdale, Bruno (c), Dunk, Stephens, Kayal, Baldock (Wilson, 73, Hemed (Sidwell, 90), Murphy, Goldson, Rosenior, Knockaert (Skalak, 74). Subs not used: Maenpaa, Greer, Calderon, Zamora.Brighton & Hove Albion line-up
: 11,881 (1,126 away fans)Attendance
: Mr M HeywoodReferee