Preston and Forest share points in entertaining encounter

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Sky Bet Championship

Preston North End 1-1 Nottingham Forest

McGeady 52                  Assombalonga 22

Preston North End shared the points with Championship strugglers Nottingham Forest in an entertaining encounter at Deepdale today. Britt Assombalonga opened the scoring in the 22nd minute for the visitors with a sublime finish, whilst Aiden McGeady equalised early in the second half with a well composed finish.

The home side made a very good start to the game, with Paul Gallagher coming close within the first minute. The midfielder cut through the defence, and his powerful shot was tipped over by the keeper.

Five minutes later Simon Grayson’s side tested the Forest defence again, with Tom Barkhuizen hitting the away team on the break. He found himself with only the keeper to beat, but his shot went straight at the keeper. Just moments later, Barkhuizen’s fellow forward Jordan Hugill came close with a shot going just over the bar after cutting in from the left-hand side.

Daryl Horgan also came close for the home side in the 11th minute, but his shot was deflected and went out for a corner.

Nottingham Forest had their first chance of the game two minutes later, when Ben Osborn’s header on the end of a good ball went just over the bar.

The away side came close again in the 19th minute when Ben Brereton’s header was caught by Maxwell – who nearly went over his line with the ball. Forest then found themselves in front three minutes later through Britt Assombalonga. Former Bolton midfielder Zach Clough did much of the work for the goal, making a great run before playing a good through ball to Assombalonga who was able to slot the ball past Maxwell in the bottom-left corner.

The away side’s lead very nearly lasted just ten minutes. Forest’s keeper Jordan Smith managed to fumble the ball after it came in from the right-hand side, but luckily for him Eric Lichaj was able to make a last ditch clearance in order to prevent Aiden McGeady from getting his name on the scoresheet for the time being.

Just before half time, Nottingham Forest could have doubled their lead. Ben Brereton made a cracking run with the ball, finding himself one-on-one with Maxwell only for the keeper to save the shot with his legs. Warburton’s side deservedly led 1-0 at the break.

Preston made a swift start to the second half, making two half-time substitutions and changing their shape. The plan appeared to be working, as the side were looking more threatening going forward. Four minutes into the second half, Tom Barkhuizen had a powerful shot going just over the bar.

Three minutes later, the home side were back in the game. It was Aiden McGeady who got himself on the scoresheet for Simon Grayson’s side, latching on the end of a good ball and burying the ball past the keeper in the bottom left corner.

Nottingham Forest came close on two occasions shortly after the goal, with Zach Clough’s shot going wide in the 57th minute and Ben Osborn’s powerful shot going just wide of the goal five minutes later.

Callum Robinson had a chance for Preston in the 70th minute, cutting in from the left hand side only for his shot to go straight at the keeper. Two minutes later, PNE came close to scoring again. Centre-back Paul Huntington forced Smith into a great save to his right with a powerful header on the end of a great cross from Paul Gallagher.

Little was to come after this, and the game could’ve gone either way. Forest had one last chance at the end of the game to get a winner, but the free kick went well over the bar.

Following the draw, Preston sit in 8th and face Bristol City at home on Tuesday night whilst Forest are in 20th place just two points above the drop zone.

Preston North End: Maxwell 7, Clarke (c) 7, Boyle 5 (Baptiste 45), Huntington 6, Cunningham 6, Horgan 6 (Robinson 45), Gallagher 7 (Browne 84), Pearson 6, McGeady 8, Barkhuizen 6, Hugill 5.

Sub ratings: Robinson 7, Baptiste 6, Browne n/a

Booked: Boyle, Pearson, Robinson

Subs not used: Lindegaard, Beckford, Spurr, May.

Nottingham Forest: Smith 7, Lichaj 7, Worrall 7, Fox 6, Pinillos 6, Vaughan 7, Clough 8 (Cash 73), Cohen 7, Osborn 7, Brereton 8 (Ward 62), Assombalonga 7 (Vellios 73).

Sub ratings: Ward 7, Vellios 6, Cash 5

Booked: Lichaj, Fox, Pinillos.

Subs not used: Mancienne, Tshibola, Carayol, Evtimov (GK).

Attendance: 12,459