By Ben Reardon – reporter
Preston North End and Bolton Wanderers shared the spoils in a goalless stalemate at Deepdale on Halloween night.
Chances were at a premium in what was a feisty local derby, with neither side able to find that elusive goal to win the game.
North End made just the one change to the squad that held Brighton and Hove Albion to a draw last week, with Joe Garner returning to the starting eleven for the game under the floodlights.
Bolton made the three alterations to their squad, as Shola Ameobi, Dorian Dervite and Max Clayton replaced Wellington Silva, Prince-Desir Gouano and Gary Madine respectively.
Shola Ameobi created the first opening of the encounter after two minutes, however, he could only direct his header straight into the gloves of Jordan Pickford, following Jay Spearing’s corner.
Up the other end, Garner went close, collecting a pass on the edge of the penalty area, before subsequently turning his marker and shooting tamely at Ben Amos.
The veteran forward Ameobi got beyond Preston’s back line shortly after 20 minutes, though the 34-year-old glanced Spearing’s free-kick over the bar.
Bolton escaped themselves minutes later, when Greg Cunningham met Paul Gallagher’s corner, which was blocked by his own man, Eoin Doyle.
Preston defender Callum Woods was lucky to escape a booking after hacking Max Clayton down when the forward was through on goal, the resulting free-kick from Jose Manuel Casado finding the Alan Kelly stand.
Daniel Johnson went close for Preston on two occasions but failed to break the deadlock as the half wore on, with Wanderers looking to hang on into the interval.
The final chance of the half fell to Cunningham, who saw his long-range drive deflect off David Wheater and find its way to Amos.
As proceedings resumed for the second half of play, Bolton started the better of the two as Spearing curled a 25-yard free-kick into the travelling contingent.
Garner was once again involved in the thick of the action ten minutes after the break, and having been set up by Johnson, the returning frontman shot straight at Amos, who gathered comfortably.
With time running out, Johnson had a go at goal himself, but his dipping shot was saved with ease by Amos.
Amos would later deny substitute Jordan Hugill, with the Middlesbrough native unleashing an effort which was comfortable for the Bolton stopper.
Wanderers spurned a great opportunity to take maximum points back to the Macron Stadium with six minutes to play, as Clayton cut the ball back to Madine, who shot through a crowded penalty area, but Pickford was on hand to deny.
PNE put pressure on Bolton’s defence in the dying embers but the points were eventually shared between the sides, moving Preston up to 18th while Bolton are up to 22nd in the Championship.
Preston North End manager, Simon Grayson said: “That’s four clean sheets in a row for us, we just need to be a bit better in the final third on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Bolton manager, Neil Lennon was quick to praise his side’s performance.
“Overall I am pleased because I don’t think we are that far away but I’ve been saying that for a long, long time.
“I’ve got to be happy with a point and I’ve got to be happy with a clean sheet as well.”
PNE: Pickford, Vermijl (Huntington 81), Woods, Wright, Cunningham, Reach, Browne (Kilkenny 81), Gallagher, Johnson, Garner, Doyle (Hugill 62)
Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Osede (Pisano 83), Dervite, Wheater, Casado, Spearing (Danns 80), Vela, Pratley, Clayton, Feeney, Ameobi (Madine 74)