Preston leave it late
Preston escaped with a point against Bristol City after a controversial late penalty from Callum Davidson.
Last Updated: 08/08/09 5:47pm
A controversial late penalty from Callum Davidson earned Preston a 2-2 draw with Bristol City on the first day of the Championship season.
City debutants Paul Hartley and David Clarkson had struck earlier in a chaotic second half to give the visitors a seemingly unassailable two-goal lead.
Hartley scored from the penalty spot in the 49th minute and Clarkson doubled the advantage nine minutes later when he converted a cross from former Ipswich player Danny Haynes.
That looked to have sealed victory for the Robins but Jon Parkin's superb volley cut the gap with eight minutes remaining and Davidson held his nerve from 12 yards in the closing stages to secure a draw for the hosts.
North End boss Alan Irvine handed debuts to new recruits Paul Parry and Velice Sumulikoski following their arrivals earlier this week.
The Lilywhites were further boosted with the news that centre-back pairing Sean St Ledger and Youl Mawene had shrugged off minor knocks to take their places in the side.
City boss Johnson handed starting roles to summer signings Dean Gerken, Lewin Nyatanga, Hartley, Clarkson and Haynes in a 3-5-2 formation.
Yet it was Preston who began the brighter as former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor forced Gerken to make a save with a right-footed shot from 18 yards in the 10th minute.
Two minutes later, City drove at the heart of the home defence and were almost rewarded.
Jamie McAllister floated a dangerous cross into the penalty box and Haynes rose highest to plant a firm header goalwards.
North End goalkeeper Andy Lonergan produced a fine parried save to deny the City forward but the pendulum swung back towards the visitors in the 19th minute.
Parry found the space to engineer a fine low shot from 25 yards which drew another smart stop from Gerken, who again denied the Welshman in similar circumstances shortly afterwards.
Parry fired in another long-range shot which Gerken repelled as pressure from the home side began to build.
In the 20th minute an inswinging corner from Ross Wallace was met by St Ledger, but his header flew over the crossbar.
Moments later, City created another opening when Nicky Maynard hit a fierce shot and drew a comfortable save from Lonergan.
Sumulikoski then tested Gerken with a long-range effort three minutes before the break and Mawene then scooped the ball over the bar on the stroke of half-time from close range.
Three minutes after the restart, City opened the scoring when Mawene impeded Haynes and former Celtic midfielder Hartley rifled home emphatically from the penalty spot.
Mawene was booked for his indiscretion and it got better for the visitors in the 58th minute when Haynes supplied a fine pass for ex-Motherwell striker Clarkson to rifle home a low right-footed shot from 12 yards.
The second goal put City in total control but Parkin set up a tense finish when he drilled home a fine volley from 18 yards.
North End pushed for an equaliser and it arrived when Louis Carey was adjudged to have handballed inside the area and Davidson made no mistake from 12 yards.