REPORT: Preston North End 1-1 Millwall

MILLWALL had to settle for a point in their play-off quest as they came from behind to draw 1-1 against Preston North End at Deepdale on Good Friday.

Murray Wallace scored an own goal to give the hosts the lead but then atoned for that by heading home Jed Wallace’s delivery to make it 1-1.

Gary Rowett’s Lions had opportunities to win it in the second half and they might feel it was both a point gained as well as a missed chance, after the results of top-six rivals meant they moved a point closer to the top six.

Coventry City, though, went a place above them as they came back from two goals down to win 4-2 at Birmingham City.

Millwall are 10th, three points behind the sixth-place Sheffield United – who dramatically lost 2-1 at home to Reading having levelled in the last minute – but Middlesbrough, who are third, two points off the play-offs, have a game in hand on both sides.

Brad Potts had an early effort blocked before Wallace could only turn Daniel Johnson’s cross past Bartosz Bialkowski in the sixth minute.

Bialkowski saved comfortably from Sean Maguire in the 11th minute and then Billy Mitchell had an effort at the other end two minutes later but shot wide.

The Lions levelled in the 21st minute as Murray powered Jed’s cross past Daniel Iversen and into the top corner for his sixth goal of the season.

Greg Cunningham fired over in the 26th minute and the Lilywhites lost captain Alan Browne to injury three minutes later, Ali McCann coming on.

Daniel Ballard just failed to reach Jake Cooper’s flick-on four minutes before the break. Cooper was then required in his own box in the 44th minute to deny Maguire.

The Lions could have taken the lead on 54 minutes but after a chaotic sequence in the Preston penalty area when Benik Afobe, Jed Wallace and Danny McNamara all had attempts blocked, Iversen kept out Maikel Kieftenbeld’s shot towards the top corner.

Ireland international Maguire threatened again four minutes later as he went through only for Bialkowski to pull off a brilliant save.

The sides traded chances again after an hour as Andrew Hughes’s shot from 30 yards and Scott Malone’s half-volley didn’t really trouble Bialkowski or Iversen.

Mitchell blocked Johnson’s shot and Bialkowski again saved comfortably from Potts to keep it level.

Potts was replaced by Josh Murphy who was quickly into the action with a curling shot that Bialkowski tipped around the post.

Millwall manager Rowett injected fresh energy into the side when Tom Bradshaw came on for Oliver Burke in the 72nd minute and George Saville for Mitchell two minutes later.

In between those changes, Cooper headed a corner wide.

Iversen was equal to Afobe’s shot from Jed Wallace’s pass with nine minutes left and a minute later Bradshaw set up Saville whose attempt was blocked by McCann.

Bradshaw tried to force the second with two minutes left but Iversen again came to the home side’s rescue, before Bradshaw headed over from the corner.

Millwall host Hull City – who beat Steve Morison’s Cardiff City 2-1 on Friday – at The Den on Monday.

Millwall: 5-2-1-2: Bialkowski; McNamara, Ballard, Cooper, M Wallace, Malone; Mitchell (Saville, 74), Kieftenbeld; J Wallace; Afobe, Burke (Bradshaw, 72).

Substitutes not used: Long, Hutchinson, Ojo, Leonard, Evans.

Image: Millwall FC 

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John Kelly