REPORT: ALBION 0 PRESTON 0
- Albion draw their fifth game of the season
- The Seagulls are still unbeaten in 13 league games
- Gaetan Bong goes off injured late in the match
- Albion remain four points clear at the top of the Championship
Brighton & Hove Albion shared the spoils with Preston North End in a cagey encounter at the Amex.
Albion came into the match following back-to-back victories over Leeds United and Bristol City, but were held to their fifth draw of the season by a dogged North End side.
Chris Hughton made three changes to the starting line-up that beat Bristol City on Tuesday night, as Jamie Murphy, Andrew Crofts and Rohan Ince came in to replace Solly March, the suspended Beram Kayal and Dale Stephens.
Albion created their first chance inside the opening five minutes when Sam Baldock fired a close-range strike wide after some good link-up play with Bruno.
Tomer Hemed was next to come close for the Seagulls, but drove his shot over the target.
Albion’s next chance came from a set-piece when Murphy made a meandering run from the left-hand side before being fouled on the edge of the box.
Liam Rosenior and Murphy engineered a clever free-kick routine, but the latter’s shot was pushed away by Preston keeper Jordan Pickford.
Murphy was involved in the thick of the action again when his free-kick went straight to the far post, but was cleared to safety at the last moment.
Preston had limited forays towards the Albion goal and created their first clear chance of the game when Jordan Hugill latched on to Alan Browne’s pass and forced a low save from David Stockdale.
North End skipper Paul Gallagher had the first chance for the visitors after the re-start, but fired wide of Stockdale’s near post from just outside the box.
Albion began to probe the Preston defence and Gaetan Bong’s cross was close to finding Rosenior and Hemed inside the box, but Pickford confidently collected the ball.
Hughton elected to add a different dimension to the Seagulls attack just past the hour mark and the Amex faithful rose to their feet to welcome on Bobby Zamora, who replaced Hemed.
But the visitors brought on firepower of their own, as last season’s League One top scorer Joe Garner came off the bench and saw his header cleared off the line by Bruno.
Ince was next to try his luck from distance, but his shot went high and wide of the target and did not trouble Pickford.
Garner then tested Stockdale with a shot from a tight angle, but the Albion shot-stopper reacted well to make a strong save.
The game ended on a sour note for Albion as Bong was carried off on a stretcher late in the game.
Preston had one last chance themselves in the eight minutes of stoppage time, but Garner’s volley from a corner went over the bar and the teams shared a point each.
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