Preston 1-1 Bristol City: Famara Diedhiou earns late point for Robins
Daniel Johnson puts Preston in front at Deepdale but Bristol City peg them back.
Last Updated: 02/03/19 6:59pm
Famara Diedhiou hit a late equaliser as play-off chasing Bristol City rescued a vital point from a 1-1 draw at Preston.
The Robins, who are firmly in the Sky Bet Championship promotion mix, trailed at the break thanks to Daniel Johnson's goal, following a lacklustre display by the visitors.
However, City managed to get up a head of steam around the hour mark as they began to finally test Declan Rudd and get a foothold in the game.
And they were finally rewarded when Diedhiou pounced on a loose ball from a corner in the 68th minute.
It could have been even better for the visitors but for a brilliant save from Rudd to keep out Antoine Semenyo with nine minutes to go.
Preston were bottom of the league at the start of October, but a run of just four defeats in 25 matches since has taken them to within six points of the top six - and they showed just why against City.
In an open start, chances came at both ends as the two sides pressed for an early breakthrough.
City threatened initially, and Jamie Paterson fired wide after getting on the end of Callum O'Dowda's ball on six minutes.
Sixty seconds later the home side hit back, and Andrew Hughes headed wide from a pacey corner from Paul Gallagher.
As North End enjoyed a good spell, Brad Potts had a dangerous cross blocked for a corner on 10 minutes before Sean Maguire blazed over.
Maguire threatened again from distance, but his 25-yard effort flew over the target without troubling City keeper Niki Maenpaa. Then from another Gallagher corner Alan Browne nodded wide.
At the other end Paterson curled over from 25 yards.
The home side continued to look the more likely to take a first-half lead and from another testing Gallagher delivery, this time a deep free-kick by Marlon Pack, Browne headed down but off target.
North End's pressure finally paid off three minutes before half-time with a free-kick routine that looked to be straight off the training ground.
City looked to be expecting Browne to float in another cross from a free-kick on the left, but instead he pulled the ball back for Johnson to side-foot into the top corner from 15 yards.
In stoppage time City threatened to score an equaliser but Adam Webster's overhead kick was easily held by keeper Rudd - his first meaningful save of the half.
Fisher brilliantly blocked from Diedhiou on 59 minutes, before Semenyo also had a shot blocked as the game went through a quiet spell.
Paterson fired wide in the 61st minute as Bristol City looked for momentum.
And they got their reward when Diedhiou equalised after firing home the loose ball from a corner with 21 minutes left.
Rudd brilliantly kept out Semenyo in the 81st minute after reading his powerful shot correctly.
Browne headed inches wide in stoppage time as both sides were left with a point.
Alex Neil: "I can't take any credit for our goal, that's something the lads conjured up, but it worked. We are still in the hunt and I've told the lads that, and we hope we are still in that position with three or four games to go.
"A lot of the players are disappointed because they really wanted the three points."
Lee Johnson: "It's a brilliant point, I'm chuffed for the players but obviously we have to do our jobs better in the first half. The players are aware that the free-kick [for Preston's goal] is a regular routine of theirs. To get a point from that position at half-time was brilliant. I thought the subs who came on were excellent and dealt with the situation.
"It was our third game in a week and the boys had to really dig deep energy levels wise and they did. That showed the spirit of the players and the travelling fans."