Preston’s unbeaten run in the Championship stretched to seven games tonight, after a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough.
This one felt like a game there for the taking. Boro had been struggling under Jonathan Woodgate, and were smashed 4-1 by Sheffield Wedneday on Saturday. With four goals conceded in the first 35 minutes, Boro were a shambles just days ago.
Having beaten Boro at the Riverside Stadium in March, Preston will have been looking to replicate that result. However, Woodgate’s side looked the most threatening early on.
Declan Rudd made a smart save from Marcus Browne, Marcus Tavernier flashed a shot wide and Britt Assombalonga hit the woodwork before Preston struck. Darnell Fisher found Daniel Johnson, he teed up Alan Browne to hit the post, and Josh Harrop followed in to score the rebound.
North End briefly went joint-top with that goal, but it didn’t last long. Tavernier and Paddy McNair combined down the right, and Fisher could only turn McNair’s cross into his own net.
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Neither side were able to find the winner, and the result will leave mixed feelings for Alex Neil. If Preston were offered a point before the game, they’d have probably taken it.
Yet with Boro shaky lately, North End had a real opportunity to get at them. Sadly, the attacking fluency just wasn’t there, and with substitutions unable to change the game, Neil has to make do with a point.
If North End can beat Barnsley on Saturday, it will have been a decent week. Preston sit fifth in the Championship, two points off top spot and one point off second.
A year ago, North End were bottom of the league and drew 3-3 at Aston Villa. Tonight’s game wasn’t quite as exciting, but we’re in a much better situation now.