FT: Preston 2 Coventry City 2

Sat 26 Jan 2013
Author: Joe Hewison

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City secure away point at Deepdale thanks to Leon Clarke goal...

The Sky Blues shared the points with Preston for the second time this season after an entertaining draw at Deepdale.

Despite dominating the first half, City trailed to Graham Cummins’s goal after half-an-hour before Leon Clarke leveled eight minutes later.

A Preston own goal gave City an early second half lead but Nicky Wroe equalised soon after. The game swung from end to end as both sides searched for a winner but it wasn’t to be.

Franck Moussa’s inclusion, in place of Gary McSheffrey, was the only change to the side that beat Oldham and the Belgian was straight into the action. He exchanged passes well with Clarke in the third minute but a last ditch tackle to prevented him getting a clean shot off.

The hosts responded as Jack King headed at goal from a corner but Steven Jennings was in the right place at the back post to clear off the line.

It was all City after that as they passed with purpose fashioning chance after chance.

Moussa linked up well with John Fleck to cross for Clarke but his header was well saved by Thorsten Stuckmann.

The German giant was much the busier of the two keepers. He wasn’t called into action when James Bailey miscued at the end of a flowing move in the 16th minute but he reacted magnificently when required to stop Carl Baker’s curling shot eight minutes later.

But as is often the way, City fell behind when they appeared most dominant. Jeffrey Monakana found space down the right after the Sky Blues failed to clear and he crossed for Cummins to blast home from three yards 15 minutes before the break.

Mark Robins’s men reacted well however. Bailey was thwarted by Struckmann once more before Clarke finally found a way through on 38 minutes.

Moussa outmaneuvered Paul Connolly on the right and picked out Clarke at the back post. The big striker then showed great composure to chest down before choosing his moment to side-foot home and notch against Preston for the third time this term.

Preston started the second half better than they had the first but the Sky Blues were in front in the 53rd minute.

Baker bamboozled three defenders before his low cross from the right found its way into the back off the net via a combination of Connolly and Chris Robertson.

The hosts sought to hit back quickly but Joe Murphy was quick off his line to punch clear from a corner as the ball bounced around the box.

The sides were level again in the 61st minute. King again rose well to head down a diagonal ball for the on-rushing Nicky Wroe to sweep past Murphy from close-range.

This gave Preston a lift and they went in search of a winner. Their best chances continued to come from set-pieces and Robertson almost atoned for his part in the goal when he beat Murphy to a corner but his header went wide.

Cummins had an ever better chance to head in the winner when left wide open from a right-wing free-kick in the 77th minute. But luckily for City he also directed his effort wide.

Preston continued to launch balls into the box late on but nothing of enough quality to force a winner.

Preston (4-5-1): Stuckmann; Connolly, Robertson, Wright, Davies (Buchanan 84); Monakana, Wroe, Byrom (Procter 71), King, Holmes; Cummins (Garner 84).

Subs not used: Huntington, Beardsley, Beavon, Taylor.

Sky Blues (4-5-1): Murphy; Christie, Wood, Edjenguele, Adams; Baker, Jennings, Bailey, Fleck (Barton 90), Moussa; Leon Clarke.

Subs not used: Dunn, Jordan Clarke, Thomas, Cameron, Bell, O’Donovan.

Referee: D Coote

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