Hugill saves Preston North End blushes
Jordan Hugill scored an 89th minute equaliser for Preston North End in a tight and intense affair after Ipswich Town took a 16th minute lead through Tom Lawrence.
Lawrence thought he had struck the winner for the visitors with an early 16th minute strike, but saw his effort nullified right at the end as Hugill responded for the hosts in the dying minutes of a well contested encounter.
The hosts started the game on the front foot with Aiden McGeady and Ben Pearson pulling the strings from the midfield.
But, it was the Tractor Boys who took the lead through their Welsh International. Lawrence skipped past Tom Clarke and ex Manchester United defender Marnick Vermjil and blasted an unstoppable effort which rifled past Chris Maxwell before he could react.
Just moments later the young Englishman was in the thick of things once again playing Freddie Sears through on goal but the latter saw his tame effort easily saved by North End’s number 22.
In what was a disappointing first half performance from the Lilywhites, Callum Robinson and McGeady missed guilt edged chances to pull the team in white level.
First, the former failed to connect his attempted overhead acrobatic effort after being set up expertly by the Irishman. Then, the North End number 14 did well to get past a sea of blue shirts before lashing his effort well above Bialkowski’s cross bar into the Alan Kelly Town End.
However, it was not all Preston North End.
Mick McCarthy’s men came close to doubling their advantage just before the break when Freddie Sears saw his fierce low effort parried away by Maxwell who managed to keep the game at 1–0.
Simon Grayson’s men were quick off the block in the second half. Jordan Hugill who had a quiet afternoon expertly chested a long ball into the path of the onrushing McGeady who set up midfielder Pearson only for the number 4 to see his effort blocked by Ipswich center half Berra.
With the clock ticking, Grayson looked to the bench and introduced new recruit Daryl Horgan for Robinson in the hope of getting back into the game.
With Preston pushing for the equaliser Ipswich paid the cost of sitting back in the dying moments of the game. Just when the Tractor Boys thought they had taken all three points back to Portman Road, Hugill rewrote the script with an equaliser at the death.
The English center forward calmly chested Horgan’s low cross after it took a kind deflection off McGeady, and hit the back of the net with a strong right footed shot which flew past Bialkowski in the blink of an eye.
Preston North End manager Simon Grayson said: “It’s always going to be a tough game against Mick McCarthy’s team.
“Well, we just want him( Jordan Hugill ) to keep scoring goals and his value will keep going up.”
Grayson on new signing Darryl Horgan: “He’s been bright and a little unfortunate not to have started the game.
“We were desperate to get something out of the game. You could see that when we switched to a 3–4–3.”
Darryl Horgan said: “We should have won the game. It’s not going to be easy to break into the team, especially with the quality that we (Preston North End) have.
“I think, with the chances we created and opportunities we had, we should have changed the game.”