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Match Reports

Norwich City 2 Preston North End 2

19 September 2020

Preston North End had to settle for a point at Carrow Road, despite leading twice; putting in an excellent performance.

Scott Sinclair converted from the penalty spot after a foul on Ben Davies, before Teemu Pukki equalised, only for Darnell Fisher to score his first goal for the club with an excellent strike, but the points were shared when Przemyslaw Placheta fired home five minutes from time.

Like the win over Derby County in midweek, it was a performance played on the front foot in the first half at Carrow Road, played in front of supporters for the first time since March.

And it was deserved when they went in front on 14 minutes. Alan Browne had won a right-wing corner that Joe Rafferty – one of six players to retain their place from Tuesday’s win at Pride Park – crossed and as it headed the way of Ben Davies, Xavi Quintilla pushed the No.6 from behind, with referee John Brooks in an excellent position to point straight to the penalty spot.

With Daniel Johnson injured and Paul Gallagher on the substitutes bench, it was Sinclair who stepped up and waited for Tim Krul to dive to his right, with the ex-Celtic man putting it to his right to make it 1-0.

However, the visitors levelled with their only attempt on target in the opening half, as Quintilla delivered a cross from the right touchline, that Teemu Pukki glanced past Declan Rudd and off the right-hand post and into the net to make it 1-1.

The hosts had a positive spell in the ten minutes after the goal, Rudd doing extremely well to come out and make a smothering block at the feet on Pukki of 38 minutes, but it was North End who went in ahead at the break.

Three minutes before the interval a superb defence-splitting pass from Ryan Ledson opened up the Canaries defence for Sinclair to slip in and shoot left-footed across goal, beating Krul, but only for Ben Godfrey to chest it out to Fisher ten yards out, who hit a superbly timed volley back into the middle of the goal, his first goal for the club and his first for any club for four-and-a-half-years!

Straight after the break and Quintilla was lucky to stay on the pitch as he looked to be the last man as he brought down Sinclair on the right-edge of the penalty area. The winger got the free kick on target, but it caught the outside of the wall and went behind for a corner.

Two corners from Rafferty followed, causing all sorts of problems in the penalty area, with Maguire’s header eventually finding Krul, after Bauer’s initial downward header had found Browne in the box for a shot.

There was a let off at the mid-point though as Irish international substitute Adam Idah had a left-foot shot that Rudd got down low to make a fine stop to, only for the ball to fall for another change Przemyslaw Placheta, who fired over the bar from eight yards out with Rudd still on the floor.

And it was the Polish international who drew his side level in fortunate circumstances, firing home at the second attempt, when his initial effort from Max Aarons’ cross came back to him off Bauer’s block with five minutes to go.

In the fifth minute of added time, where PNE seemed to be the team on the front foot, Teemu Pukki brought a top class save from Rudd, tipping over the striker’s volley from Placheta’s cross from the left – it was a reflex save, but a vital one as the final whistle followed shortly after.

Norwich City line-up: Rudd, Fisher, Rafferty (Storey, 79), Pearson, Bauer, Davies (Hughes, 79), Barkhuizen, Ledson, Maguire, Browne (c) (Potts, 79), Sinclair. Subs not used: Ripley, Harrop, Gallagher, Bodin.

PNE line-up: Krul, Aarons, Godfrey, Zimmermann (c), Dowell (Placheta, 24), Cantwell (Hugill, 89), Quitilla, Skipp, Pukki, McLean, Hernandez (Idah, 63). Subs not used: McGivern, Rupp, Tettey, Gibson.

Referee: Mr J Brooks

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