By Karan Gadhia – Deputy Sports Editor
PNE extended their unbeaten run in the Championship to four games with a 1-1 draw against Ipswich Town at Portman Road.
The result means Preston remain in 13th whilst Town slip out of the play-off places into 7th.
Daniel Johnson established an early first half lead for North End, firing the ball into the back of the net on the second attempt after his initial shot was blocked.
Preston goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was helpless to stop Daryl Murphy’s powerful shot nestling into the bottom corner seven minutes before the break as the hosts pulled level.
Simon Grayson originally planned to make just one change to the side which secured victory at Bristol City on Tuesday, bringing in Alan Browne to replace Calum Woods.
However, a late injury to Captain Tom Clarke during the warm up meant Woods retained his place in the starting line-up.
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy named an unchanged side from the team which beat Leeds United earlier in the week.
After a quick start from the visitors which saw Paul Gallagher test Ipswich goalkeeper Dean Gerken from a free-kick inside the first two minutes, Johnson opened the scoring, firing home from inside the box following Eoin Doyle’s cross.
North End nearly made it 2-0 inside the opening quarter of an hour after a well worked free-kick between Johnson and Gallagher which saw the latter curl a shot narrowly wide of the post.
Just after the half-hour mark, Doyle delivered another dangerous cross this time finding Joe Garner but he fired straight at Gerken.
Murphy equalized for Town just before half-time, his thunderous strike from long range flying straight past Johnstone.
Into the second half, Ryan Fraser showed quick feet to work his way into the box but his arrowing shot was too close to Johnstone.
Ben Pearson was at fault for the next Ipswich chance, caught in possession by Murphy but Johnstone just managed to tip his long range effort away from goal.
Tommy Smith was resolute in defence, blocking Garner’s strike which seem destined for goal.
Pearson thought he had made amends for his earlier error minutes later, putting the ball into the back of the net following a quick exchange of passes with Doyle but the flag was up for offside.
Into the last nine minutes, Bailey Wright spurned a big chance to snatch all three points, directing Gallagher’s cross just the wrong side of the post.
Luke Chambers thought he had scored the decisive goal but for a remarkable reaction save from Johnstone following Brett Pitman’s flick-on after Jonas Knudsen’s cross.
There was a late penalty claim from Town after substitute Luke Hyam’s shot appeared to strike Paul Huntington’s hand but the referee waved play on.
After the game Grayson told BBC Radio Lancashire: “Every one of ours did a fantastic job today and it’s a well-deserved point.
“On another day we might have actually got three.”
Ipswich Town: Gerken, Knudsen, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Skuse, Murphy (Varney 82), Fraser, Bru (Pitman 69), Sears, Douglas (Hyam 74). Subs not used: Bialkowski, Maitland-Niles, Oar, Malarczyk.
PNE: Johnstone, Woods, Cunningham, Pearson, Huntington, Wright, Doyle (Robinson 87), Browne, Garner (Hugill 79), Johnson, Gallagher. Subs not used: Kirkland, Vermijl, Kilkenny, Welsh.
Attendance: 21,108 (436 PNE)
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)