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sql/match-reports/2004-05/2005-2-18-0.htm

Preston North End (1) 1 - 1 (0) Ipswich Town

Coca-Cola Championship 2004-05

Friday, February 18, 2005

Referee: MD Messias

Manager: Billy Davies

Deepdale 19:45

Attendance: 14,418

Manager: Joe Royle

Match Number: 3095

Goals

Home
 Nugent (36)
Away
 Tommy Miller (69)

Substitutions

Home
DavidsonEtuhu (75)
NugentAgyemang (75)
WardNeal (83)

Cards

Home
 Agyemang 
 Sedgwick 

Teams

Home

Ward

Alexander

Lucketti

Mawene

Davidson

Sedgwick

ONeill

McKenna

Hill

Nugent

Cresswell

Substitutes

Home

Neal

Etuhu

Agyemang

Davis

Smith

Match Report

Miller arrests Preston push

Ipswich stumbled to rescue a point after David Nugent had marked his first Preston start with a goal that was to prevent the runaway leaders racing a full eight points clear at the Championship summit.

Nugent, 19, had not been born the last time Preston beat Ipswich but for large periods of last night's intriguing encounter between fourth and first it looked as though his goal might actually win it.

However, Tommy Miller had the last say as the midfielder rode to Joe Royle's rescue with an equaliser that extended his side's unbeaten run to six games.

The Ipswich manager said: "I feel a bit like Dick Turpin. We just didn't play, yet we've managed to nick a point. We were well below our usual standards."

The draw was tough on Preston, who showed why they had won seven of their previous nine outings.

At Christmas they had been facing a relegation battle but now Billy Davies's side look genuine play-off candidates. They were denied a clear penalty when Richard Naylor handled and it required a stunning goalkeeping display by Kelvin Davis to deny the lively hosts, who were in rampant mood from the start.

Chris Sedgwick, an influential figure in Preston's revival since arriving in a £400,000 move from Rotherham in November, spurned two fine chances inside the opening 15 minutes and it required a last-ditch block by Naylor to deny Paul McKenna from making the breakthrough.

McKenna went close again from 25 yards before Nugent showed great composure to drill past Davis after Brian O'Neil caught Ipswich's defence off guard nine minutes before the interval.

It would have been 2-0 to Preston and Nugent had Davis not produced the save of the match to deny the former Bury player in the final minute of the half.

Royle made a double substitution at the start of the second half in an effort to inject some urgency into his side. However, the arrivals of Jim Magilton and Dean Bowditch did little to stem the flow of traffic towards the visitors' penalty area. Graham Alexander fired into the side netting before Davis pushed a dipping 30-yard shot from Callum Davidson behind for a corner as the home supporters roared their appreciation.

Gavin Ward continued to enjoy a relaxed life between the Preston goalposts with Darren Bent unable to test, let alone trouble, the veteran stand-in. Yet, just as Preston were daring to think they might secure a crucial win, Miller popped up to equalise with his eighth goal of the campaign after Ward had failed to hold his initial effort.

The home side were forced to play the final 10 minutes with the youngster Chris Neal in goal. The loanee from the Conference side Tamworth was needed when Ward was carried off after a collision with Ian Westlake. Neal soon showed his potential by denying Bent what would have been an undeserved winner from point-blank range.

Neil Johnston (The Guardian)

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