Preston 1-1 Birmingham- Match Report

Michael Morrison earns Birmingham a point at PrestonPreston and Birmingham shared the spoils in an entertaining 1-1 draw at Deepdale as Michael Morrison scuppered the hosts' hopes of another clean sheet.Simon Grayson's men claimed a first-half lead through loanee Adam Reach's cross-cum-shot and spent the second period fending off wave after wave of attacks.North End were bidding for their ninth shut-out in 11 games and their 13th of the season and a series of saves from impressive on-loan goalkeeper Jordan Pickford looked like delivering it.But skipper Morrison's near-post header from a 67th-minute corner brought Blues level and Demarai Gray should have then won it when he raced through and dragged wide in stoppage time.Reach's first goal since he moved on loan from Middlesbrough arrived in the 19th minute and there was a degree of fortune involved.The winger appeared to be delivering a cross from the right flank, but the ball eluded everyone and bounced into the far corner of Tomasz Kuszczak's net.A Blues response was forthcoming, Andrew Shinnie almost stealing in ahead of Pickford and Neal Eardley lashing over, but North End looked dangerous on the break.Joe Garner stung Kuszczak's palms from the edge of the area and ex-Aston Villa man Daniel Johnson surged forward from midfield before dragging an effort into the Pole's body.Birmingham's talented teenager Gray had been largely subdued, yet he found himself behind the Preston back four before the break and chipped meekly at Pickford when faced with the one-on-one opportunity.Even when Gray delivered with his end product at the start of the second half, Pickford was there to thwart him with a fine one-handed stop down to his left.The 19-year-old was having plenty of joy down the visitors' left flank against Marnick Vermijl and his cross to the back post on the hour was met by an unmarked Jacques Maghoma, who headed against the crossbar from six yards out with the goal at his mercy.Pickford was running away with the man-of-the-match accolade, even after spilling a straightforward delivery, and his best save yet came from Jon Toral as he swivelled 10 yards out only to be denied by another terrific one-handed stop.However, from the resulting corner, Morrison's header from Stephen Gleeson's corner went over the line at the far post before a Vermijl was able to volley clear, with the assistant referee immediately flagging for a goal.It was the least Birmingham's second-half pressure deserved and they pushed hard for a winner which Jonathan Grounds almost grabbed when firing a close-range volley wide having been allowed to turn in the area once a free-kick was not cleared.Neither side looked content with a point, Joe Garner and Reach both mishitting from good positions at one end and James Vaughan and Morrison forcing Pickford into action once more at the other.The stopper was left scrambling across his goal in stoppage time from Toral's rifled try wide and even then Gray could have beaten him with a poor attempt after racing clean through

Source : PA

Source: PA