Tom Barkhuizen kept up his excellent pre-season form as the Lilywhites came from behind to continue their unbeaten pre-season campaign.
In their first run out at Deepdale under the management of Alex Neil, they found themselves behind early on, when Aleksandar Mitrovic converted from close range, after a Paul Dummett shot had been turned away by Chris Maxwell.
But the Lilywhites grew into the game and deservedly drew level just after the hour mark, when Barkhuizen converted on the volley after Greg Cunningham’s left wing cross had been flicked on nicely for him by the Magpies’ former Blackburn Rovers centre half Grant Hanley.
For Neil’s PNE, wearing the new home strip for the first time in pleasant summer conditions in PR1, it was a tough start, as Maxwell was needed to deny Siem de Jong’s effort from Mitrovic’s nod down inside 90 seconds.
The opener came on eight minutes as Geordie-born Dummett checked in from the left before curling a right-footed effort through a crowd of PNE players towards the bottom right hand corner of the Town End goal, only for Maxwell – who must have seen it late – to get down at full stretch to palm the ball out. Unfortunately for the home side, the ball was pushed into the path of the visiting No.45, who slammed the ball into the bottom left hand corner from ten yards out in a right hand channel.
The Serbian forward almost doubled his side’s tally just before the half hour mark with a low shot from the back left corner of six yard box following a right wing corner by skipper Jonjo Shelvey. The shot looked destined to nestle in the inside side-netting of the goal, only for Marnick Vermijl to make a last ditch clearance on the line.
However, by this stage the Lilywhites were looking much stronger and deservedly drew level 12 minutes before half-time.
Captain Greg Cunningham received the ball in space down the left hand flank from Daniel Johnson and delivered a first time cross into the six yard box. Hanley got up highest, competing with Jordan Hugill, but only flicked it back into the path of Barkhuizen who drilled the volley back into the bottom left corner of the goal from ten yards out.
And they were unlucky not to find themselves in front before the interval. This time Johnson fed Barkhuizen in the right hand corner of the box, he outpaced Hanley before clipping a cross into the six yard box. Callum Robinson managed to get a glancing header onto the ball, but it found its way through to Hugill at the back post, however, the No.9 could only find the side-netting.
Just before the hour mark, with his last touch of the game, Hugill forced half-time substitute Karl Darlow into a fine save. Another Barkhuizen cross created the opportunity and the Middlesbrough-born striker tried an acrobatic volley, but the former Nottngham Forest ’keeper tipped the ball wide. From the resulting corner Ben Davies’ header from Johnson’s cross wasn’t far away either.
The visitors were still a threat with their pace and power, Maxwell denying De Jong after Jack Colback’s pull back and then forcing out, two-handed, Chancel Mbemba’s vicious shot from 15 yards.
For North End, the introduction of Josh Harrop was another fillip. He showed plenty to excite the home fans with his 30 minute cameo, illustrating his pace, direct approach and quality touch after only a few days of training.
However, neither side could fashion a winner in the closing stages and the game finished level in front of a healthy crowd of over 7,000 inside Deepdale.
PNE line-up: Maxwell, Vermijl, Cunningham (c), Pearson, Huntington, Davies, Barkhuizen, Browne (Harrop, 58), Hugill (Doyle, 58), Johnson (Pringle, 82), Robinson (Horgan, 67). Subs not used: Hudson, Boyle, Grimshaw, Spurr, Meulensteen, Earl.
Newcastle United line-up: Elliot (Darlow, 46 (Woodman, 71)), Dummett (Clark ,46), Hanley (Hayden, 46), Shelvey (c) (Colback, 46), Diame (Murphy, 46), de Jong (Roberts, 62), Aarons (Yedlin, 46), Mbemba (Gayle, 46), Lejeune (Manquillo, 76), Atsu (Perez, 46), Mitrovic (Gayle, 46).
Attendance: 7,280 (2,307 Newcastle United fans)