It was the outcome most predicted; very tense and tight with little to get excited about. But it was a point more to the total, and the Seagulls came away with something which both promotion rivals, Hull and Tuesday’s visitors Sheffield Wednesday haven’t done at Deepdale this season. But with Burnely and Middlesbrough both winning, it means Brighton have fallen 2 points further behind the pace. This doesn’t mean they are out of the automatic promotion race, but they have made it a little harder for themselves, and will need to be asking for a few favours in the games to come.
Brighton started the brighter, and pressed Preston into their half, but it was the Lilywhites who had the first chance, when Adam Reach’s effort went just wide of David Stockdale’s post. Just as the halftime whistle was approaching, Brighton had a goal ruled out for offside when Anthony Knockaert delivered a delicate chip over the top of the Preston defense to Jamie Murphy who vollied into the corner of the net; replays show he may have been marginally offside, but it should have been advantage to the striker. With little opening being made in a quite dull affair, Calum Woods had the best and the decisive chance of the game, when a swinging cross from Reach cleared everyone in the box, Woods timed his run to perfection but his volley cannoned of the underside of the crossbar, with the help of a fingertip from Stockdale. Joe Garner, who made himself known to the Brighton fans with some woeful diving, had a header comfortably saved by Stockdale. Murphy had the best chance of the game for the Seagulls; after being played through by Baldock, his curling effort was well saved by Chris Kirkland as he aided it out for a corner. Tomer Hemed also had the ball in the back of the net, but there was no questioning the decision this time as he was offside once Kirkland had initially saved a Liam Rosenior shot. That’s how it ended; very little chances with both defenses on top making it difficult for the attackers to fulfil their roles.
Stockdale (8); Wonderful save onto the bar to deny Woods. Quiet in the 1st half, but lively when needed in the 2nd.
Bruno (7); Good supporting runs, but wasn’t helped defensively as much by Knockaert or Skalak when he came on.
Goldson (7); Had a tough afternoon with Garner, but he did manage to stop him playing his usual game, even if that included fouling him.
Dunk (7); Like Goldson, when he was marking Garner it was tough, but he was also on top in the 1-on-1 battles.
Rosenior (7); Good breaks down the wing, but the final ball let him down; solid defensively.
Knockaert (6); Worked hard as usual, but no reward for the Frenchman. Pressured the Preston back line into a few horrible clearances.
Kayal (6); Tight and very little room in the midfield, but he managed to get control in the 1st half, not unlike the 2nd half when it was all Preston.
Stephens (6); Did well in the 1st half, but was a little slow to react to Preston’s quicker tempo in the 2nd.
Murphy (6); Unlucky not to be given the goal, but he was a threat all afternoon when he was given the ball.
Baldock (6); Pressured Preston’s 3 centre backs well, and was always willing to chase the loose balls.
Hemed (6); Bit lazy from the centre-forward for not getting back onside, but another good game from him; held the ball up well when given the chance to.
Wilson (5); Little for him to get his teeth into, with Preston largely controlling the 2nd half.
Skalak (5); Tried his best to weave his way through a tough Preston defence, but couldn’t manage it.
Sidwell (N/A); On for the last few minutes for Hemed.
PNEFC - BHAFC;
Att; 11,881 (1126 Brighton)