A dramatic injury time goal from Jermaine Beckford deprives Doncaster Rovers of three points at Deepdale.
Preston - 2 (Johnson 13’ , Beckford 90+4')
Rovers - 2 (Forrester 81’ , Main 84’)
Tuesday 3rd March, 2015
Deepdale Stadium, Preston
Sky Bet League One
Rovers win over Colchester at the weekend saw them move back up to sixth place in Sky Bet League One while Simon Grayson’s Preston side went into the game having won their last five, occupying third place in the table.
James Coppinger returned to the Paul Dickov's squad as a substitute for the first time since leaving the field injured against Chesterfield in January.
It was a quiet opening ten minutes to the game and Rovers more than matched the promotion contenders.
Rovers had the first real chance of the game as Abdul Razak burst through midfield before releasing a fierce shot from 20 yards to test former Rovers goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
However, it took 13 minutes for the home side to break the deadlock and take the lead. After a scrap on the edge of the area Daniel Johnson struck a low shot with his left foot that went in off the inside of the post, Stephen Bywater could only watch.
Despite being a goal down Rovers enjoyed the majority of possession and looked confident on the ball, but Johnstone remained untested.
The home side had a good spell of possession ten minutes before half time. Joe Garner should have doubled their lead as a cross was put on a plate for him in the area but his header was inches wide of the post.
Rovers were playing some impressive football in midfield and Curtis Main and Nathan Tyson looked a threat going forward, unfortunately the final product was just lacking from Rovers as they looked to level.
Despite going in a goal down at the break, there was very little to separate the two sides and it was a good half of football for Rovers who were frustrated by some solid Preston defending.
HALF TIME SCORE: Preston North End 1-0 Doncaster Rovers
Neither manager made changes as the teams came out for the second half.
Preston threatened instantly as Paul Gallagher picked up the ball on the edge of the area and released a vicious shot, but a vital block from captain Andy Butler prevented Bywater from making the save.
Harry Forrester was introduced to the game within ten minutes to try and add some extra pace and was quickly followed by James Coppinger who replaced Dean Furman.
Forrester came close when he drove into the box down the right and released shot towards the top corner, only to see his effort hit the side netting.
Rovers were certainly the better side in the second half and like the first, enjoyed the majority of possession. An injury to Paul Keegan saw him leave the field and was replaced by Uche Ikpeazu, an attacking substitution from Paul Dickov.
With ten minutes to go and the game wide open the away side finally got the goal they deserved. A brilliant run through the defence from Coppinger seer up Forrester on the edge of the area whose left footed shot beat Johnstone and found the bottom corner.
Rovers looked hungry for more and just three minutes later got a dramatic late goal for what they thought was the winner.
Reece Wabara found space down the right before delivering an inch perfect cross into the box for Main who rose above his defender to head the ball into the corner.
It was no more than Rovers deserved and just when they thought the game was won, substitute Jermain Beckford popped up in the area with a fantastic finish into the bottom corner for the home side.
Straight after the restart the referee blew for full time and it was a share of the spoils, but an impressive point for Rovers away from home against promotion contenders.
FULL TIME SCORE: Preston North End 2-2 Doncaster Rovers
Team Lineups -
Preston: Johnstone, Laird, Clarke (c), Wright, Humphrey, Galllagher (Kilkenny 70’), Garner (Davies 78’), Welsh, Huntington, Johnson, Robinson (Beckford 84’)
Unused Subs: Stuckmann, Wiseman, Reid, Ebanks-Blake
Cautions: Joe Garner, 53’
Rovers: Bywater, Stevens, Wabara, Butler, McCullough, Razak (Forrester 56’), Wellens, Furman (Coppinger 65’), Keegan (Ikpeazu 71’), Tyson, Main
Unused Subs: Marosi, McCombe, Robinson, Bennett