Sky Bet Championship
Preston North End 2-2 Sunderland
Harrop 55 Hugill 57 Honeyman 28 McGeady 59
Preston North End and Sunderland shared the points in an enthralling encounter at Deepdale today. George Honeyman took the lead for the visitors with a well-worked goal 28 minutes in before there were three goals in the space of four minutes coming from Preston’s Josh Harrop and Jordan Hugill and former Preston loanee Aiden McGeady.
Both sides had a good start to the game and it was very end-to-end initially. In the 16th minute the hosts came close when Tom Barkhuizen beat his man and put in a good ball towards Alan Browne whose effort was blocked in its tracks by Tyias Browning. It appeared to be a handball, but the referee didn’t agree with this.
Ten minutes later, Sunderland’s George Honeyman fired wide of the mark on the end of a corner.
The winger was involved in the action again just two minutes later. James Vaughan held the ball up well to lay it off to the 23-year-old who linked up well with Lynden Gooch before smashing the ball into the top corner to put Simon Grayson’s side in front.
The visitors dominated much of the first half, with Lee Cattermole bossing the midfield. Aiden McGeady also looked bright for the visitors and he fired the ball just over the bar three minutes from half time.
Preston started the second half brightly, and Tom Barkhuizen came close for them seven minutes in. Jordan Hugill made a great run through the Sunderland defence but his pass towards the unmarked winger was too powerful for him.
Alex Neil’s side continued their great start to the second half moments later when Josh Harrop equalised with a brilliant free kick in from the left that made its way into the bottom-right corner.
By the 57th minute, the hosts were 2-1 up. Alan Browne made it through the Sunderland defence and Browning’s clearance only made it to Jordan Hugill whose powerful strike beat Jason Steele and sent the home fans wild.
Preston’s lead only lasted two minutes however as their former fans’ favourite Aiden McGeady retrieved the ball well from a defender and buried the ball past Maxwell to put the visitors back in the game.
The excitement continued as Alan Browne then hit the crossbar for the hosts in the 61st minute.
Sunderland looked to push for a crucial winner, and they came fairly close in the 73rd minute when George Honeyman’s cross was headed wide of the mark by James Vaughan.
The visitors’ best chance to win the game came ten minutes later when substitute Duncan Watmore kept the ball in and gifted the ball to Cattermole whose effort at an open goal was blocked and out for a corner.
A lack of communication between Watmore and McGeady led to the former heading the ball wide from close range in the 86th minute, and then three minutes later the impressive Lee Cattermole found an opening and made a darting run but his low cross couldn’t quite reach Watmore and the game ended in a draw.
Despite a very valuable point away to Preston North End, Sunderland drop to 23rd whilst Preston drop one place to sixth ahead of the international break.
Preston North End: Maxwell, Fisher, Huntington (c), Davies, Earl, Johnson, Browne, Barkhuizen (69), Harrop, Maguire (Robinson 88), Hugill (Mavididi 77).
Unused subs: Hudson, Vermijl, Woods, Spurr.
Sunderland: Steele, Jones (Oviedo 70), Browning, O’Shea, Matthews, N’Dong, Cattermole (c), McGeady, Honeyman (Williams 84), Gooch (Watmore 64), Vaughan.
Unused subs: Ruiter, McManaman, Kone, Gibson.
Attendance: 17,621 (2,900 away)