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Preston fight back for late point
Published : 08 Aug 2009 17:34:14
City debutants Paul Hartley and David Clarkson struck second-half goals to put Gary Johnson's men 2-0 ahead. Hartley fired home from the penalty spot in the 49th minute and Clarkson claimed a second nine minutes later when he converted a cross from fellow debutant Danny Haynes. That looked to have sealed victory for the Robins but Jon Parkin's superb volley in the 82nd minute cut the gap and Davidson held his nerve from 12 yards in the closing stages. North End boss Alan Irvine handed debuts to new recruits Paul Parry and Veliche Shumulikoski following their arrival earlier this week from Cardiff and Ipswich respectively. Both men made the starting line-up and the Lilywhites were further boosted when central defensive duo Sean St Ledger and Youl Mawene shrugged off minor knocks to take their places in the side. City boss Johnson handed starting roles to summer signings Dean Gerken, Lewin Nyatanga, Hartley, Clarkson and Haynes in a 3-5-2 formation. Yet it was Preston who began the brighter as former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor tested Gerken with a right-footed drive from 18 yards in the 10th minute. Two minutes later, City drove at the heart of the home defence and were almost rewarded. Jamie McAllister flighted a dangerous cross into the penalty box and Haynes rose highest to plant a firm header goalwards. Highly-rated North End goalkeeper Andy Lonergan produced a fine parried save to deny the City forward but the pendulum swung back towards the visitors in the 19th minute. Parry found the space to engineer a fine low shot from 25 yards which drew another smart stop from Gerken, who denied the Welshman in similar circumstances again moments later. Parry fired in another long-range shot which Gerken repelled as pressure from the home side began to build. In the 20th minute an inswinging corner from Ross Wallace was greeted by St Ledger but his header flew over the crossbar. Moments later, City fashioned another opening when Nicky Maynard hit a fierce shot which drew a comfortable save from Lonergan. Shumulikoski then warmed Gerken's hands with a long-range effort three minutes before the break and Mawene then scooped the ball over the bar on the stroke of half-time from just six yards out. Three minutes after the restart, City opened the scoring when Mawene fouled Haynes and former Celtic midfielder Hartley rifled home emphatically from the penalty spot. Mawene was booked for his indiscretion and it got better for the visitors in the 58th minute when Haynes supplied a fine pass for ex-Motherwell striker Clarkson to fire home a low right-footed shot from 12 yards. That put City in total control but Parkin set up a tense finish when he drilled home a fine volley from 18 yards. North End pushed for an equaliser and it arrived when Louis Carey was adjudged to have fouled Parkin and Davidson rifled home left-footed from 12 yards.