By Jack Wynne – Sports Editor
PNE came from behind against Birmingham City, scoring a dramatic late equalizer to salvage a point as the scores finished 2-2 at St Andrew’s.
Clayton Donaldson put the Blues ahead in the 13th minute, tapping in the rebound after Anders Lindegaard couldn’t keep hold of Diego Fabbrini’s shot from outside the box.
Donaldson scored his second of the night in the 59th minute, capitalizing on David Cotterill’s free-kick being knocked into his path by Chris Kirkland before firing home.
North End were level with 17 minutes of normal time remaining, Alan Browne curling the ball beyond Tomasz Kuszczak after Tom Clarke’s cross from the left.
Greg Cunningham scored a late equalizer, firing the ball past Kuszczak after North End had hit the post twice.
PNE manager Simon Grayson made three changes from the draw with MK Dons, Clarke, Browne and Joe Garner coming in for Paul Huntington, Daniel Johnson and Jermaine Beckford.
The Blues were ahead with less than a quarter of an hour played, Donaldson firing in from close range after Lindegaard could only parry Fabbrini’s curling effort from the edge of the box.
Joe Garner almost levelled the scores minutes later. His powerful shot from distance narrowly sailed past the post, almost catching Kuszczak off guard.
Jonathan Grounds missed a good chance to double the hosts advantage, diverting Cotterill’s cross wide from close range.
Eoin Doyle latched onto Paul Gallagher’s cross and powered a header towards goal only for Kuszczak to make a great save to maintain City’s lead.
Alan Browne went in search of an equalizer just before the interval, his powerful shot from outside the box hit straight at Kuszczak after Garner’s knock down.
Donaldson made it two just before the hour mark, firing the ball into the back of the net from close range after Kirkland couldn’t keep hold of Cotterill’s free kick.
North End pulled a goal back almost instantly, Paul Huntington’s close range header being diverted away from goal brilliantly by the fingertips of Kuszczak.
Browne pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute, guiding the ball into the bottom corner with a left-footed shot following Clarke’s delivery.
89 minutes played, Cunningham brought North End back on level terms, firing home from close range.
After the match, Grayson was pleased with the reaction of his players after going 2-0 down.
He thought they showed great spirit and character to come back into the game and earn a point away from home.
Birmingham City: Kuszczak, Caddis, Morrison, Shotton, Grounds, Kieftenbeld (Gleeson 39), Davis, Cotterill, Fabbrini (Lafferty 75), Maghoma and Donaldson. Subs not used: Legzdins, Robinson, Vaughan, Solomon-Otabor and Spector.
PNE: Lindegaard (Kirkland 45), Vermijl (Huntington 20), Wright, Clarke, Cunningham, Gallagher, Pearson, Browne, Reach, Garner and Doyle (Beckford 72). Subs not used: Welsh, Johnson, Robinson and Hugill.
Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)
Attendance: 14,366 (538 PNE fans)