Draw leaves Pilgrims well adrift

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:32

Draw leaves Pilgrims well adrift

Argyle are seven points adrift of safety after sharing the spoils with Darren Ferguson’s side on Saturday, following wins for fellow strugglers Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday.
Sean St Ledger gave Preston the lead at Home Park in a first half dominated by the visitors, but Paul Mariner’s men made a better fist of proceedings after the interval and were rewarded when Damien Johnson equalised from the penalty spot.
Ross Wallace missed a golden opportunity for Preston in the opening minute.
Burly striker Jon Parkin fed the ball to the Scotland winger, who blazed over from close range when he should have worked a relieved David Stockdale in the Pilgrims goal.
Parkin was proving to be a handful for the Argyle defence in the opening exchanges and he fizzed a dangerous ball across the six-yard box moments later.
The hosts were under severe pressure and Stockdale did superbly to thwart Matthew James, whose shot capped a sweeping Preston move in the 12th minute.
North End’s front two then linked up effectively as Neil Mellor whipped over a cross which top scorer Parkin headed narrowly wide.
After the 18th minute, the pressure finally told when Wallace’s inswinging corner was headed home by St Ledger for his first Preston goal of the season.
North End’s captain for the day almost doubled the advantage midway through the half when Wallace fizzed in a free-kick from 35 yards which Stockdale could only parry, but the Republic of Ireland centre-back put the rebound wide.
The Home Park pitch was starting to cut up and that appeared to be to Argyle’s advantage as they worked their way back into the game and almost equalised three minutes before half-time.
Preston’s on-loan Peterborough full-back Tom Williams – making his 250th professional start – fouled Carl Fletcher on the left wing. From the resulting Chris Clark free-kick, Joe Mason’s goalbound header was stunningly tipped round the post by Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan.
Luke Summerfield was replaced by Craig Noone at the interval for Argyle and the hosts enjoyed the greater share of possession at the start of the second period.
After 63 minutes, Parkin dragged a shot wide from 12 yards and Preston were left to rue that such chances had gone begging with 20 minutes remaining.
A corner from Noone was handled by James and referee Andy Woolmer had no hesitation in awarding a penalty which was calmly put away by Johnson.
And Argyle almost snatched three points in the final minute when Noone drilled against the bar from 25 yards and Lonergan produced a superb save from Rory Fallon’s follow-up.

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