By Jack Wynne – Sports Editor
Preston secured a point against promotion-chasing Derby County in a goalless draw at the iPro Stadium.
North End jump up two places into 14th whilst County moved into 4th ahead of Brighton and Hove Albion.
Ben Pearson picked up his tenth booking of the season, after a foul on George Thorne, and will subsequently mix the next two games for North End.
Into the first minute, Jeff Hendrick looked to test PNE goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard but his low shot ended up the wrong side of the post.
At the other end, Pearson hit a powerful shot after some good work by Reach but it was straight at Scott Carson in goal for Derby.
Paul Gallagher’s cross fell perfectly for Paul Huntington before his shot inside the box was blocked by Jason Shackell.
Five minutes later, Gallagher was the one to try his luck but his long-range shot was tipped over the bar by Carson.
Tom Ince had a chance to put the home side ahead six minutes before the interval, directing Stephen Warnock’s cross wide of the target.
Into the second half, the Rams made a quick start which almost saw Hendrick test Lindegaard after some good work by Ince and Chris Martin, but his shot was blocked.
55 minutes played, Daniel Johnson looked to curl one into the back of the net from outside the box but Carson denied the North End midfielder.
Just after the hour mark, Stephen Warnock picked out Jacob Butterfield, who worked some space in the box before firing wide.
Garner looked to test Carson after coming in from the left but his right-footed shot was straight at the Derby stopper.
As the match entered the final few minutes, Substitute Craig Bryson attempted to break the deadlock but his effort sailed narrowly wide.
“When you look at the team that Derby County have got, where they are in the division and what they expected to do come the end of the season it shows what we are capable of doing” he told PNE PlayerHD.
“The players carried out every instruction that I’ve given them over the last five or six days that we’ve worked on and they deserved the point at the very least tonight.”
Derby County: Carson, Christie, Keogh, Hendrick (Bryson, 72), Martin, Shackell, Butterfield, Blackman (Camara, 67), Ince (Russell, 86), Thorne and Warnock. Subs not used: Grant, Baird, Olsson and Johnson
PNE: Lindegaard, Clarke, Wright, Huntington, Woods, Cunningham, Pearson, Gallagher (Browne, 86), Johnson, Reach (Hugill, 90+3) and Garner. Subs not used: Kirkland, Vermijl, Kilkenny, Doyle and Robinson
Attendance: 27,252 (631 PNE fans)
Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)