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Report: Rovers 2 Preston 2

Rovers robbed of all three points late at Ewood.

18 March 2017

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Report: Rovers 2 Preston 2

Rovers recorded a third consecutive 2-2 draw after being pegged back late at Ewood Park.
Goals from Elliott Bennett and Craig Conway looked to have given the home side all three points as they came back from Tom Barkhuizen's early opener.
But the Rovers couldn't see the match out and Aiden McGeady struck deep into injury-time to ensure the Lancashire spoils would be shared.
Unchanged following their 3-0 win over Reading seven days earlier, it was the visitors who forced the early pace with a series of corner kicks, but it was a move from open play that saw them take a 13th minute lead.
Daryl Horgan crossed from the right to Barkhuizen who nodded into the path of Jordan Hugill, he played it back his strike-partner and Barkhuizen sliped it into the net.
McGeady fired over after a corner came out to the Irish international, but as the half wore on it was Rovers who started to gain some momentum in the final third.
Preston got lucky when keeper Chris Maxwell fumbled a centre from Bennett but no Rover could snap up the rebound, then a tremendous centre from the midfielder picked out the fast arriving Lucas Joao, but on his first start for the club he headed straight into the arms of Maxwell. Either side of the keeper and it surely would have been another goal for the on-loan forward, such was the power in his header.
But whilst Rovers were starting to force the pace, they were susceptible on the counter. On 23 minute one such break saw the visitors attack three on one, but Jason Lowe got back in time to make an excellent interception.
Craig Conway let fly from distance after cutting in from the left, before Lowe did likewise from a similar position, but neither effort troubled the Preston goal. But a drilled ball from Guthrie up to Joao saw him turn on a six-pence before lashing goalwards with a superb left-footed strike that flashed narrowly over.
Rovers kept on pressing, on 38 minutes the two players that combined for a last minute equaliser on Tuesday night almost repeated the trick when Derrick Williams picked out Joao with a superb centre, however the striker headed against the inside of the post, and the ball frustratingly staying out.
Two minutes before the break the Blues eventually got their reward. Joao played the ball to the feet of Bennett who turned, took a touch and blasted the ball into the bottom corner of the goal from 20-yards. 
Rovers very nearly went in at half-time in front after putting the ball in the back of the net for the second time in as many minutes. Joao tricking his way left and right before finding Marvin Emnes, but the Dutchman was in an offside position as he poked the ball home.
The start of the second half saw the visitors threaten once more as a centre from Horgan picked out Barkhuizen, but the early goalscorer scooped over from ten yards. Then a dangerous ball from left to right flashed past everyone in the Rovers box, Hugill just unable claim a connection.
But Rovers' response was emphatic with a fantastic 56th minute team goal.
Bennett broke forward in space before slipping into Emnes, he in turn threaded the ball through to Conway and he cleverly fired home his sixth goal of the campaign - his 50th career strike.
Looking to extend their advantage, Rovers went in search of more goals. Emnes lashed narrowly over after tricking his way to the edge of the box, before Nyambe did likewise cutting in from the right.
Both sides made attacking changes in the final 25 minutes. Rovers threw on Connor Mahoney, Sam Gallagher and Liam Feeney as Bennett, Emnes and Conway made way, whilst the visitors sent on Callum Robinson, Paul Gallagher and Simon Makienok.
Rovers looked to stretch the play, yet it was the visitors with all the momentum in the closing stages.
On 82 Paul Gallagher was denied by the legs of Steele, before McGeady curled an effort just wide.
The side in yellow thought they had levelled a minute into four at the end of the game when Paul Huntington headed home a Gallagher centre, but the defender was a yard offside.
The manager had previously talked about game management and their inability to see the game out would prove costly as the Deepdale side struck with 60 seconds remaining.
As Rovers failed to deal with a ball up to the edge of the box, Preston tricked their way through with Gallagher and McGeady combining to find Tom Clarke who returned the ball to McGeady to guide into the back of the net.
The draw means Rovers go into the international break off the back of a seven-match unbeaten run, but boss Tony Mowbray will know that they should have been celebrating another victory.
ROVERS: Steele, Nyambe, Lenihan, Mulgrew, Williams, Bennett (sub Mahoney 76 mins), Lowe (c), Guthrie, Conway (sub Feeney 80 mins), Emnes (sub Gallagher 80 mins), Joao.
Subs not used: Raya (GK), Hoban, Akpan, Brown.
Goals: Bennett 43 mins, Conway 56 mins.
Booked: Mahoney 77 mins.
PRESTON: Maxwell, Clarke, Boyle, Huntington, Cunningham, Horgan (sub Robinson 67 mins), Johnson (sub Gallagher 75 mins), Pearson, McGeady, Hugill (sub Makienok 77 mins), Barkhuizen.
Subs not used: Lindegaard (GK), Browne, Beckford, Spurr.
Goals: Barkhuizen 13 mins, McGeady 90+3 mins.
Booked: Cunningham 67 mins, Huntington 87 mins.
Attendance: 18,435 (including 6005 visiting supporters)

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