New-boys Preston North End nullified bookies’ favourites Middlesbrough to gain a well-earned point at Deepdale.
The lilywhites prevented last season’s play-off runners up from having a single shot on target, while still threatening with chances coming from new boys Will Keane and Marnick Vermijl.
Early on the visitors looked dangerous but wasted a golden chance within 11 minutes when Grant Leadbitter shot wide from close range.
Keane, on loan from Manchester United, went on to have the best effort of the game when his shot was cleared off the line by George Friend in the 28th minute.
Less than 60 seconds later Joey Garner was appealing for a penalty after being brought down in the box.
Middlesbrough had half-chances to open the scoring during the half; but Stewart Downing’s well timed passing was dealt with time and time again by Bailey Wright and co.
As the second half began both teams looked to get the game moving quickly. First with PNE’s latest signing Vermijl bombing down the right wing, only to see his squared cross cleared. Boro’s Kike returned fire, glancing a header wide from a corner moments later.
Both sides looked set for a clean sheet throughout the second half. Only late chances for Garner and Albert Adomah looked like hitting the back of the net after the hour mark.
North End boss Simon Grayson was very satisfied with his team’s work rate, while his opposite number Aitor Karanka said that he ‘expected more’.
PNE: Pickford, Vermijl (Humphrey 78), Clarke, Huntington, Wright, Cunningham, Johnson, Welsh, Gallagher, Garner, Keane (Hugill 84)
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Kalas, Ayala , Fry, Friend, Clayton, Leadbitter (Forshaw 88), Adomah, Downing, Reach (Fabbrini 60), Garcia Martinez (Stuani 77)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh