Battle of the roses ends all square

Preston North End's Deepedale ground
Deepdale thriller ends stalemate

Preston North End and Bradford city played out a thrilling Lancashire-Yorkshire clash as four headed goals ensured both sides went away with a point.

It was the away side who started the brighter of the two. James Hanson’s header hitting the turf before striking the net to send Bradford 1-0 up with just five minutes on the clock.

After a dodgy start, North End found themselves threatening the Bradford line.  A powering effort from Stuart Beavon outside the box only just sailed over, before Chris Humphrey, who was pivotal in PNE’s creativity in the first-half cut inside from the right, but his effort similarly flew above the bar.

Both Bradford’s Kyel Reid and Preston’s Humphrey were causing problems for their opposition from the right hand side.  Reid out running Bailey Wright before firing a bobbling effort that forced Rudd to tip the ball onto the post and wide.

And it was a looping ball from Humphrey that enabled Davies a chance at goal but his header fell into Bradford Keeper Jon McLaughlin’s arms.

Just after the half hour mark, Preston drew level. A superb free-kick from Scott Laird fell to Tom Clarke at the back post who nodded in his third goal of the season.

Reid to some extent threatened Rudd’s goal mouth just before the break. An ambitious effort from outside the box sliced well wide to the PNE fans delight, who was starting to get sick of seeing the tricky winger with the ball at his feet.

Shortly after the restart, John Welsh had top corner aspirations in mind released a curling effort from 30 yards out, but the ball fluttered wide.

The Lilywhites must have cursed their luck when a Beavon cross flashed across goal before falling to Humphrey from an awkward angle whose shot was superbly saved by McLaughlin. Even more so when Beavon again went close after turning  a Bradford defender but his shot went wide.

Whilst Humphrey became a more quieter figure second-half, his counterpart Reid continued to pressurize the PNE defence. The 25-year-old weaved his way past a handful of white shirts before shooting from 25 yards out, narrowly missing the right hand post.

Despite the threatening Reid, PNE were in front for the first time in the game with just 20 minutes remaining. A pin-point cross from Laird found the head of Wright whose header knocked off the post and into the net.

A flying shot from Laird who enjoyed two assists in the game, was sandwiched In between two goals as the away side didn’t take long to make it all square. Gary Jones’s corner finding Rory McArdle who fired his header in between Rudd’s arms leaving the keeper with no chance of preserving his sides lead.

The Yorkshire outfit must have thought they’d won the game when a Hanson header went in, only for the Bradford jubilation to be silenced as the Linesman raised his flag for offside.

In fairness to Preston and Bradford, both sides had aspirations of taking all three points as countless counter attacks meant for some entertaining end to end stuff to fittingly end a great game at Deepdale. Despite their attempts neither side could materialize a winner as the game ended a stalemate.


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