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Match Reports

Match Report: Watford 0 PNE 0

4 March 2023

Preston North End kept a 15th clean sheet of the season as they earned a point on the road against Watford.

PNE were the side on top in the first half, with the likes of Álvaro Fernández and Ched Evans coming close, while restricting Watford at the other end.

The Hornets enjoyed some opportunities in the second period, though, with Keinan Davis having the best chance, but Freddie Woodman wasn’t beaten and he added another shutout to his tally on his birthday.

PNE made three changes to the side which took a point against Coventry City during the week, with Ben Whiteman and Greg Cunningham returning from suspension and injury respectively, while Troy Parrott also came into the starting XI.

The hosts created the first opportunity of the day as Craig Cathcart crossed from the right for João Pedro to head goalwards eight minutes in, but his effort was comfortably saved by Woodman.

Evans then tried his luck twice within a minute at the other end, firstly heading wide before seeing a 25-yard effort saved by Daniel Bachmann.

Álvaro Fernández had a couple of long distance strikes himself – one of which had to be kept out by the goalkeeper – and he looked to turn provider for Evans just after the half-hour mark, but his cross was intercepted.

North End were playing some good stuff and certainly ended the half as the side on top, with the last opportunity belonging to skipper Alan Browne, who sent a long-range free-kick over the bar.

PNE almost took the lead just five minutes into the second half as Parrott’s cross from the left was directed goalwards by Watford forward Davis, but Bachmann just about managed to keep it out under pressure from Browne.

Parrott then looked to break through on goal short of ten minutes later after some fantastic work from Whiteman, and the Spurs loanee appeared to be brought down by the last defender, but referee Gavin Ward waved away the appeals.

At the other end, Woodman had to come up with a big save in the 68th minute to deny Davis who had broken into the area, and he was no doubt relieved a few moments later to see Ismaïla Sarr’s volley land just wide of goal.

That was where the goalmouth action ended for either side and the points were shared at Vicarage Road.

Watford line-up: Bachmann; Cathcart (Gaspar, 72), Poteous, Hoedt, Morris (Asprilla, 45); Louza, Choudhury; Sarr (Assombalonga, 88), Pedro, Sema; Araújo (Davis, 45). Subs not used: Hamer, Kone, Kabasele.

PNE line-up: Woodman; Storey, Diaby, Cunningham; Potts, Whiteman, Browne, Johnson (Woodburn, 76), Fernández; Parrott (Cannon, 70), Evans (Ledson, 87). Subs not used: Cornell, Bauer, Delap.

Attendance: 19,244 (1,130 PNE fans).

Referee: Mr G Ward.

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