Struggling PNE threw away a two goal lead in the second half against Watford to leave them deep in trouble.Advertisement
The visitors were 2-0 up at the break thanks to goals from Sean St. Ledger and Leon Clarke but Matthew Whichelow and Adam Thompson replied for the Hornets in the second half.
North End were superb in the first half but showed a lack of confidence in the second and they remain bottom of the table.
Coming into this game the Lilywhites had gone eight league games without a win while Watford hadn’t won in five.
Nathan Ellington was unavailable for Preston and Darel Russell also missed out, Keith Treacy and Barry Nicholson were selected as North End lined up in a 4-4-2 formation.
The Lancashire club started well, winning a corner after just 10 seconds and captain St. Ledger headed home inside the first minute.
The visitors built on their start and limited Watford to very few chances. North End continued to attack the Hornets goal and just after the half hour scored again.
Treacy ran down the left skipping past two defenders before putting in an inch perfect cross that Clarke converted.
PNE ended the first half well and could have made it three but Clarke’s shot was saved by England under 21 international Scott Loach.
Malky Mackay knew he had to change something at half time and brought on Adam Thompson and Matthew Whichelow for Danny Drinkwater and Lloyd Doyley. Both subs made a big difference in the second half.
Watford quickened the tempo in the second half and Preston began to sit back to try and hold onto their lead.
For the next 25 minutes North End kept the hosts at bay but with 70 minutes gone on the clock substitute Matthew Whichelow scored for Watford to halve the deficit.
North End manager Phil Brown changed to a 4-5-1 formation bringing on young Jamie Proctor for Eddie Johnson and Darel Russell came on for Keith Treacy.
Russell had started the last two games and did his best to convince Brown that he should have been chosen for this one. He hit a fierce shot from outside the area but was denied a goal by the post.
Just two minutes later Watford went on the attack and the other half time substitute Adam Thompson equalised.
Danny Mayor replaced Adam Barton but Brown’s substitutions failed to have as much impact as Mackay’s and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
PNE may have taken a draw at the beginning of the game but after leading 2-0 they will feel like they dropped two points rather than gained one.
PNE host league leaders QPR on Saturday and they will be hoping that they can perform for the full 90 minutes at the weekend.
They remain bottom of the league, nine points adrift of safety.
PNE: Turner 6, Gray 6, St. Ledger 7, Cort 7, Jones 7, Nicholson 8, Barton 6 (Mayor 7), Ashbee 7, Treacy 8 (Russell 7), Johnson 6 (Proctor 6), Clarke 7. Unused subs: Lonergan, Wright, Parry, Hayes.
Watford: Loach 6, Hodson 6, Taylor 7, Mariappa 6, Doyley 5 (Thompson 7), Drinkwater 5 (Whichelow 7), Eustace 6 (Sordell 6), Cowie 6, McGinn 6, Graham 6, Weimann 6. Unused subs: Gilmartin, Jenkins, Townsend, Deeney.