By Christopher Stott – reporter
Preston North End were left to rue missed opportunities as they drew 1-1 with relegation-threatened MK Dons at Deepdale.
The Lilywhites were denied late on as Joe Garner had his penalty saved by striker Alex Revell who took over in goal after Cody Cropper was sent off.
Jermaine Beckford scored early on but that was cancelled out in the second half by Nicky Maynard.
Simon Grayson made two changes from last week’s narrow defeat at Middlesbrough with Beckford and Adam Reach returning to the starting eleven, replacing Garner and Callum Robinson.
Beckford put PNE ahead after just six minutes, beating the offside trap to calmly clip the ball over the on rushing Cropper to give the hosts the lead.
North End pushed for a second and had three chances in quick succession to double their advantage with the best opening coming the way of Beckford who couldn’t meet a teasing Paul Gallagher cross from the left.
On the half hour Maynard had a great chance to bring the Dons level.
A free kick was played in to his feet, before turning and hitting a low shot which was smartly blocked by Anders Lindegaard.
Preston then went down the other end and left back Greg Cunningham hit a fierce drive which forced the Dons keeper into an acrobatic save.
North End’s failure to build on their lead was punished just nine minutes into the second half.
Josh Murphy’s driven cross wasn’t dealt with by Lindegaard and Maynard smashed home from close range to equalise.
Maynard almost put MK Dons in front from a corner shortly after.
A knock down at the far post was met by the striker whose flicked effort didn’t test the Preston keeper.
The Championship strugglers created their best chance since the goal after 68 minutes, forcing Preston’s Lindegaard into a fine save.
Kyle McFadzean was the man thwarted by the Dane after he got on the end of Dean Bowditch’s in-swinging cross.
Preston seemed to have been given a momentum changer with less than 10 to play when Eoin Doyle was set free, he rounded the keeper but Cropper hauled him down and the Dons Keeper was sent off.
Having used all their subs, Revell who plays up front, ended up taking over in goal and he became an instant hero for the visitors saving Garner’s penalty away to his right.
PNE with the man advantage pushed for more openings, but struggled to create anything clear-cut.
That was until two minutes from the end when Robinson found himself in space on the edge of the area but he rushed his effort with no one around him and fired horribly over.
North End continued to push for a late winner but couldn’t fashion anything of note in stoppage time to test Revell.
After the match, Grayson expressed his frustration over the result and admitted most of his players didn’t perform to the standards they are capable of in the second half.
He added that he wants the club to finish as high as possible and that the performance needs to be much better for the next match.
PNE: Lindegaard, Vermijl, Wright, Huntington, Cunningham, Pearson (Browne 71), Gallagher, Johnson, Reach (Robinson 78), Beckford (Garner 65) and Doyle. Subs not used: Kirland, Clarke, Welsh and Hugill
MK Dons: Cropper, Spence (Baker 76), McFadzean, Walsh, Lewington, Potter, Forster-Caskey (Williams 45), Bowditch, Carruthers, Murphy and Maynard (Revell 65). Subs not used: Burns, Long, Kay and Powell.
Referee: Stuart Atwell (Warwickshire)