By Jack Wynne – Sports Editor
PNE failed to finish the season on winning terms, drawing 1-1 with Leeds United at Deepdale.
Chris Wood put United ahead in the 78th minute from the penalty spot, Chris Kirkland penalized for leaving his leg trailing and upending Luke Murphy.
Jordan Hugill levelled the scores in the 2nd minute of stoppage time, firing in the rebound from close range after his initial shot was saved by Marco Silvestri.
PNE manager Simon Grayson made one change following last week’s victory at Reading, Marnick Vermijl replacing Greg Cunningham.
There was also a place on the bench for Chris Humphrey who had been out for a lengthy spell with a shin injury.
Wood looked to test PNE goalkeeper Chris Kirkland early on, his low shot sailing straight past the left-hand post.
21 minutes played, Joe Garner had a golden chance to put North End, failing to divert Paul Gallagher’s cross from the right towards goal.
Just before the half-hour mark, Daniel Johnson picked out Adam Reach in behind, who drilled a cross along the six-yard box from the left but Silvestri gathered the ball comfortably.
At the other end, Wood looked to lob Kirkland, his effort from inside the box landing on the roof of the net.
Alex Mowatt had a chance for the visitors, latching onto Stuart Dallas’ cross from the right before powering a header straight over the bar.
Garner failed to work Silvestri just before the interval, directing Reach’s cross straight over the bar from inside the box.
Calum Woods looked to test Silvestri, racing down the right before skewing a shot wide from the edge of the box.
Reach had a chance to break the deadlock after pinching the ball but he couldn’t decide whether to cross or shoot, his eventual cross being cut out, before Garner fired a low shot straight at Silvestri on the follow-up.
Wood almost turned Mowatt’s cross from the left into the back of the net, his header from six-yards being pushed past the post by Kirkland.
At the other end, Johnson picked out Browne who fired a first-time cross straight into a Leeds defender before Johnson fired the rebound straight into the stand with a volleyed effort.
Wood broke the deadlock with 12 minutes of normal time remaining, rifling the penalty into the top-right corner after Kirkland looked to have tripped Murphy.
Johnson had an opportunity to level the scores, curling a shot from the edge of the box straight into the hands of Silvestri.
Reach had the ball in the back of the net with just a minute of normal time remaining only to find that the flag was up for offside.
Hugill scored an injury-time equalizer, seeing his first effort from six-yards saved before stroking the ball into the back of the net on the second attempt.
After the match, Grayson reflected on the campaign, admitting it has been “fantastic” and applauded the players for achieving so much and finishing higher than most expected.
He added that the game presented very few chances for either side, and after having a goal ruled out for offside, the late equalizer was more than North End deserved.
PNE: Kirkland, Vermijl, Wright, Huntington, Woods, Browne (Robinson 69), Johnson, Gallagher, Reach, Beckford (Doyle 62) and Garner (Hugill 79). Subs not used: Hudson, Pearson and Humphrey.
Leeds United: Silvestri, Coyle, Bamba, Cooper (Wootton 45), Taylor, Diagouraga, Murphy, Cook, Mowatt (Antenucci 67), Dallas and Wood. Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Phillips, Vieira, Botaka and Doukara.
Referee: Brendan Malone (Wiltshire)
Attendance: 18,273 (5,464 Leeds United fans)