The Lilywhites are without a win in seven league games
Friday, November 17, 2017
Preston’s struggles continued as they were held to a goalless draw at home by Lancashire rivals Bolton.
Both sides could, and perhaps should, have broken the deadlock with North End’s Tom Barkhuizen and Wanderers’ Josh Vela having the best chances of the match in the first half.
But goalkeepers Ben Alnwick and Chris Maxwell ultimately came out on top as Preston’s winless run reached seven Championship games, while improving Bolton are now unbeaten in six.
It was only the third meeting between the county rivals since 2001 but the Lilywhites have still not beaten Bolton at Deepdale since 1992.
Preston, who had lost their last four games, started the better and came close twice in the sixth minute as Paul Gallagher worked a short corner before testing Alnwick at his near post and Paul Huntington could not guide the ball on target from the second corner.
And the hosts came close again 10 minutes later with Gallagher producing a superb delivery from a free-kick which was flicked inches wide of the far post by Barkhuizen from 12 yards.
The hosts were the dominant side throughout the first period – especially threatening down the left wing – as Kevin O’Connor burst forward on the overlap after 29 minutes and picked out Stephy Mavididi, who could not find the target from 12 yards.
Bolton had their first opportunity on the half-hour mark as a loose ball dropped for Vela on the half-volley from 15 yards but his fierce drive was tipped over by Maxwell.
On-loan Arsenal forward Mavididi was chosen to lead the line in place of the suspended Jordan Hugill and had an opportunity on the stroke of half-time, but his scuffed effort was easy for Alnwick.
Callum Robinson had the first strike on target of the second half, launching a dipping strike from 20 yards but it was comfortable for Alnwick.
The game began to get stretched and Bolton came more into the contest – Adam Armstrong jinking his way down the wing after 65 minutes before cutting back on his right foot and forcing Maxwell to parry away low to his left.
Down the other end Preston were resorting to strikes from distance as Alan Browne unfurled one from 30 yards, that was once again simple for Alnwick.
The Trotters’ Darren Pratley almost broke the deadlock with 15 minutes remaining thanks to a thunderous 20-yard strike that whistled inches over Maxwell’s crossbar but the game was to finish goalless.