A strike from substitute Brad Potts, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, gave Frankie McAvoy a first point as interim head coach against runaway league leaders Norwich City at Deepdale.
The 25-yard deflected shot flew into the bottom left-hand corner of Tim Krul’s goal to spark wild celebrations; levelling up Emi Buendia’s first half effort.
McAvoy’s first team selection saw two up front, with Emil Riis alongside Ched Evans, in one of three changes from the Luton Town game, with Andrew Hughes back from injury and Tom Barkhuizen returning to the starting XI as well.
And the Lilywhites started on the front foot and had chances to be at couple of goals ahead before the visitors grabbed the lead.
As early as the sixth minute, a good left-wing corner from Ryan Ledson to the back post found the rising Jordan Storey, but the central defender couldn’t get above the ball and his header was over the bar.
All the throw ins in the final third were being put into the box with Tom Barkhuizen’s long efforts and an early one was flicked on by Riis, chopped in by Scott Sinclair and then Evans, on the spin, couldn’t quite squeeze his shot into the corner.
Daniel Iversen had been a spectator for much of the early part of the game, but he made a smart stop from Bali Mumba, who had got into the box down the right.
A superb chance fell to North End on the quarter mark, a Barkhuizen zipped the ball into Evans, who turned the ball around the corner for Riis, who was in behind and one-on-one with Krul, but the Dutch international stood up well and saved with his legs, the rebound coming out and hitting Evans square in the face, but flying just wide.
And within 60 seconds another good opportunity came, as Evans stood up a cross from the right side of the penalty area, Barkhuizen made an excellent header back across the six-yard box for Sinclair, whose shot was blocked on the line by Andrew Omobamidele.
But they were made to pay for their missed opportunities on 17 minutes when a shot was blocked by Liam Lindsay, who lay prone in the ‘D’, the North End players expecting referee Dean Whitestone stop the game, but Buendia collected the rebound and curled a left-foot effort into the bottom left-hand corner from 22 yards.
The home side had a chance to get back on level terms just before the interval, when Hughes found Riis in the left corner of the area; the Dane checked inside and drilled a shot towards goal, but it came off the back of Canaries' skipper Grant Hanley’s head and behind for a corner.
Riis was very honest just after half-time when he drove into the box down the right; Hanley was all over the PNE striker, and tried to wrestle him to the floor, but the No.19 stayed on his feet and his cross was blocked. On many occasions on the afternoon the visitors yells were met with free kicks, but the striker’s honesty got him no reward on more than one occasion.
Teemu Pukki had been quiet, but he had three good chances in the second half to add to the Norwich lead, the best of which came on 54 minutes, as he drove a shot against the bar from a tight right-hand angle, the ball flying away to safety.
But when it looked like the chance to get anything from the game had come and gone, with four minutes additional time signalled, just past the allocated end, Ryan Ledson – who had taken the captain’s armband for the last half hour – played the ball into Potts, who collected and fired a shot that came off both Oliver Skipp and Omobamidele and flew past Krul into the bottom left-hand corner.
Potts charged to the bench in celebration, joined by the staff, substitutes and all 11 players on the pitch, showing a true togetherness, with the whistle following almost immediately after the restart, as the new era at Deepdale got up and running with a good point against the league leaders.
PNE line-up: Iversen, van den Berg, Hughes, Ledson, Storey, Lindsay, Barkhuizen (Maguire, 71), Johnson (c) (Potts, 64), Evans (Whiteman, 71), Riis (Gordon, 71), Sinclair (Molumby, 57). Subs not used: Hudson, Bayliss, Huntington, Bodin.
Norwich City line-up: Krul, Hanley (c), Dowell (Stiepermann, 72), Cantwell (Hernandez, 89), Quintilla, Buendia (Skipp, 82), Sorensen, Pukki (Hugill, 89), McLean, Mumba, Omobamidele. Subs not used: Nyland, Vrancic, Placheta, Martin, Tettey.
Referee: Mr D Whitestone.