By Jack Wynne – Sports Editor
North End played out a goalless draw against high-flying Brighton at Deepdale – the Seagulls have scored eight in their previous two matches.
PNE manager Simon Grayson was forced to make one change to his starting line-up, Chris Kirkland making his home debut in place of Anders Lindegaard, who missed the game through illness.
Striker Eoin Doyle also returned to the bench after he was ineligible against his parent club Cardiff City last week.
Brighton manager Chris Hughton elected to name the same starting XI which thrashed Leeds United earlier in the week.
Adam Reach almost broke the deadlock after a minute, receiving Daniel Johnson’s pass from the left before firing a shot just past the right-hand post from outside the box.
At the other end, Jamie Murphy went close hitting an arrowing shot from outside the box which just sailed over the crossbar.
Anthony Knockaert failed to test PNE goalkeeper Chris Kirkland with a free-kick, firing wide from just outside the box after Sam Baldock was blocked off by Tom Clarke.
21 minutes played, Paul Huntingon latched onto Paul Gallagher’s corner-kick from the right before heading the ball straight into Brighton goalkeeper David Stockdale’s hands.
Alan Browne had a chance to test Stockdale from inside the box but elected to roll the ball to Calum Woods, who knocked the ball too far in front allowing Brighton to clear the danger.
Baram Kayal had a chance to work Kirkland a minute into the second half but he blazed a shot straight over the bar from outside the box.
Woods left Stockdale’s cross bar reverberating, diverting Reach’s cross goal wards from close range.
Garner had a chance to work Stockdale but his header was too close to the Albion stopper, following Reach’s cross from the left.
Kirkland made a fine save to deny Murphy, pushing his low shot from outside the box past the post.
Gallagher alieved the pressure on the visitors, when he blazed a shot straight over the bar from outside the box.
Tomer Hemed thought he had snatched all three points in the 87th minute, firing in the rebound after Kirkland fumbled a shot but the flag was up for offside.
After the match, Grayson commended Kirkland for keeping a clean sheet but was disappointed his side didn’t claim all three points.
He added that the first-half was a tight affair but after the break PNE were better with their short passes and ultimately caused Albion a few problems.
PNE: Kirkland, Cunningham (Robinson, 80), Clarke, Huntington, Wright, Woods, Gallagher, Browne, Johnson (Hugill, 91), Reach and Garner (Doyle, 87). Subs not used: Hudson, Vermijl, Pearson and Welsh.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Stockdale, Bruno, Dunk, Goldson, Rosenior, Knockaert (Skalak, 72), Stephens, Kayal, Murphy, Hemed (Sidwell, 89) and Baldock (Wilson, 72). Subs not used: Maenpaa, Greer, Calderon and Zamora.
Referee: Mark Heywood (Cheshire)