Smith returns as Interim Head Coach
Posted: Monday, June 21st 2021
Saturday, April 5th 2014
Wade Elliott’s second goal in consecutive matches earned City a point against Sky Bet League One draw specialists Preston North End.
The promotion-chasing visitors edged in front on 69 minutes when defender Jack King’s powerful shot deflected beyond Frank Fielding.
But City’s response was quick and decisive, as Elliott’s low drive took a similar stroke of good fortune in finding the bottom corner to ensure the points were shared.
Steve Cotterill made two changes to his side beaten for the first time in seven games at Rotherham last time out.
Marlon Pack replaced the suspended Simon Gillett, while Adam El-Abd returned at the expense of Greg Cunningham with Derrick Williams preferred to his compatriot at left wing-back.
A low key first half was marginally shaded by the visitors, as Joe Garner came close to extending his excellent recent goalscoring form with a downward header expertly kept out by Fielding diving to his left.
Chances were at a premium early on, but City showed a glimpse of their threat when Martin Paterson’s teasing centre flashed just beyond the head of Sam Baldock.
City’s leading marksman was presented with a more attractive sight of goal when slipped in by Elliott soon after, but his left-footed shot from an acute angle was just dragged beyond the far post.
Preston responded with a burst inside from winger Lee Holmes, who needed to be stopped cynically in his tracks by the covering El-Abd, with the defender picking up a booking for his troubles.
Former City man Neil Kilkenny stepped up to strike the resulting free kick, but only succeeded in finding the grateful arms of Fielding from 20 yards.
Meanwhile, Garner’s influence was growing, as the striker headed wide before blazing over the top when a loose ball bounced kindly his way inside a congested penalty area.
Cotterill responded to an unusually off-colour first-half showing from his side with a substitution at the break, introducing Cunningham for the yellow-carded El-Abd with Williams moving inside.
Bit by bit the hosts began to make their mark on the contest. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas skipped away from two challenges before his driven shot was blocked, before the visitors had their goalkeeper to thank for preserving the stalemate.
From Elliott’s left-wing corner, Karleigh Osborne hooked the ball goalwards from six yards only for Declan Rudd to make a flying stop and tip the ball over the bar in the process.
But 12 minutes later City were behind, as substitute Josh Brownhill’s cross from the left was only partially cleared and King’s powerful shot deflected beyond Fielding off the unfortunate Nyron Nosworthy.
However, North End’s lead would prove short-lived as Elliott struck his second goal in two games to equalise six minutes later.
Another goal aided by a slice of luck, the midfielder’s low left-footed drive from distance caught the trailing leg of Kilkenny of all people en route to the bottom corner.
It was a moment which swung the balance in favour of the home team, who poured forward in search of a winner.
It looked forthcoming when Cotterill’s final two substitutes combined, as Wes Burns surged down the right and cut the ball back for Scott Wagstaff, whose scuffed shot landed perfectly in the path of Tyrone Barnett only for the striker to blaze the chance over the crossbar from ten yards with the goal at his mercy.
It was a glorious opportunity to snatch maximum points from a game probably worthy of a point apiece on the balance of play.
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