PNE 1-1 Wednesday
10/03/09 - 7.45pm
Wednesday blew the chance to pick up three valuable points as Jon Parkin netted a late, late goal to rescue a point for PNE at a chilly Deepdale on Tuesday night.
The Owls looked set to bounce back from consecutive defeats on home soil and pick up back-to-back wins on their travels after Francis Jeffers had netted a rare goal in the first half.
But, in typical Wednesday fashion, the Owls threw away two points two minutes into injury time to leave Brian Laws and his men, and the travelling band of Wednesdayites, with a bitter pill to swallow.
Laws made three changes to the side that lost at home to leaders Wolves at the weekend.
Darren Potter returned to the centre of midfield in place of James O'Connor, after the loanee was ineligible to feature against Wolves at the weekend, while Francis Jeffers replaced the injured Leon Clarke in attack and Mark Beevers replaced Richard Hinds in defence.
Preston were desperate for the three points following two defeats on the spin but neither side really came flying out of the traps in the opening exchanges, with both goalkeepers being comfortable early on.
Both sides did have numerous opportunities from corner kicks, but short-corners and confident goalkeeping kept both sides at bay.
Only half chances were created early on, Tudgay coming closest for Wednesday when he got in a dangerous position before seeing his attempt blocked, while at the other end Paul McKenna flashed a shot harmlessly wide of goal.
But it was Wednesday that started to call the shots as the half progressed, testing the PNE defence more and more as the match progressed.
Tudgay had another effort blocked before Jeffers was to fire a warning shot when his goalbound effort was deflected wide for a corner as the Owls started to mount some pressure.
St Ledger then put in a superb clearance to deny Jeffers again minutes later before the former Everton man made it third time lucky to put the Owls ahead.
Fine play between Gray and McAllister saw the latter burst into the box and cut the ball back for the 'fox in the box' to fire the ball into the back of the net and send the 1,000-plus travelling Owls fans into raptures.
The Owls' confidence continued to grow following the goal, Jermaine Johnson going on one of his trademark runs down the left before giving us one of his trademark finishes which went comfortably into the arms of the goalkeeper.
Preston looked anything but the play-off chasing side out of the two but they burst into life through Ross Wallace when he found space inside the box before seeing Lee Grant at the top of his game with a top-drawer save.
PNE were having more possession, but failed to find the finishing touch, constantly looking for the threat of Parkin but the Owls defence were dealing with the threat well as they took the lead into the break.
And the lead could have been doubled minutes before the break as Lonergan pulled off a superb save to deny a powerful Michael Gray effort.
Half-Time: PNE 0-1 Wednesday
Wednesday came out in the second half unchanged but the hosts made one substitution with Ross Wallace being replaced by Barry Nicholson.
But the change made no immediate impact for North End as Wednesday looked the more dangerous on the resumption, starting the second half in confident fashion.
Jeffers turned his marker in the box before firing a shot at goal, while Johnson found space at the edge of the box before curling his effort round the far post as Wednesday looked for what could have been a crucial second.
The pressure in the Preston half continued as the hosts' defence did well to block attempts from McAllister and JJ, while the closest Preston could come was through a long range effort from Billy Jones.
The few chances from the hosts prompted them to make another save when former Liverpool hitman Neil Mellor was introduced midway through the second half.
North End needed to up their game to get something from the game and they started to find their feet in the final 20 minutes as Wednesday looked to sit back on their lead and hit on the break.
But the Owls' defence stood firm, and Akpo Sodje was given more game time on 82 minutes when he replaced Francis Jeffers.
The three points looked to be returning to S6 as the game entered stoppage time before North End's late, late leveller.
Wednesday fan Chris Sedgwick hit a first time effort on goal which was blocked, but the ball fell to the feet of Parkin who poked the ball into the back of the net to rescue a point from the jaws of defeat.
Full-Time: PNE 1-1 Wednesday
Wednesday: Grant; Buxton, Wood, Beevers, Spurr; Johnson (O'Connor 90), Potter, McAllister, Gray; Jeffers (Sodje 82), Tudgay. Subs not used: O'Donnell, Hinds, Simek.
PNE: Lonergan; Jones, Davies (Mawene 65), St Ledger, Nolan; Sedgwick, McKenna, Carter (Mellor 60), Wallace (Nicholson 46); Parkin, Elliott. Subs not used: Brown, Neal.