Preston 3 Rotherham United 3: Frecklington double ensures Rotherham keep pace alongside promotion rivals

Lee Frecklington strikes Rotherham's opening goal.Lee Frecklington strikes Rotherham's opening goal.
Lee Frecklington strikes Rotherham's opening goal.
IF, as the current League One table suggests, these two do meet in the play-offs come May, get yourself a ticket.

A marvellous advert for the Football League, never mind the third tier, ended with honours even after Lee Frecklington rescued a point for Rotherham United with just two minutes remaining.

It was a fittingly dramatic finale to a contest that had kept the 9,524 crowd enraptured throughout.

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After 10 minutes, and with the Millers two goals ahead, the 925 hardy souls who had travelled from South Yorkshire looked to be on course for a splendid evening.

Then, however, Preston rallied as a comeback inspired by Neil Kilkenny saw Simon Grayson’s side score three times without reply.

Lesser teams than Steve Evans’s United would have folded but, instead, the visitors staged a late rally that brought deserved reward when Frecklington netted his second goal of the night.

It was the fourth game running that Rotherham had scored a decisive late strike but, considering the possibility of these two teams meeting again in the play-offs, last night’s equaliser could prove the most precious of the lot.

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United’s dream start saw Frecklington show tremendous skill on six minutes to control James Tavernier’s pass with such a deft touch that it wrong-footed his marker and the Millers captain did the rest with a stunning finish from a tight angle.

A splendid free-kick from Ben Pringle then caused such panic in the North End defence that Keith Keane and Tom Clarke combined to divert the ball beyond Declan Rudd in the home goal.

Former Huddersfield defender Clarke got the final touch, but the Millers’ goal was all about the quality of Pringle’s delivery from the right flank.

Preston had started the night knowing that victory would move them to within four points of the automatic promotion places so such a start was not what had been expected.

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Credit, though, is due to Grayson’s side for their response as a fine finish from Craig Davies cut the visitors’ lead in half.

That was the cue for North End to step up a gear after the break and the equaliser came on the hour courtesy of a stunning curled finish from Paul Gallagher.

Five minutes later, the Lancashire club were ahead for the first time as Joe Garner beat Adam Collin with a close-range header after being picked out by Chris Humphrey.

Rotherham threw everything at the hosts as Pringle’s drilled cross led to a goalmouth scramble that North End were fortunate to survive before Frecklington had an effort charged down defiantly by Clarke and Humphrey.

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Nicky Adams then shot just over before Rotherham’s reward for the late spell of pressure came two minutes from time when Frecklington fired in.

There was still time for Garner to be booked for diving in an attempt to win a penalty after making a hash of a stoppage time chance, a fittingly dramatic end to a pulsating night at Deepdale.

Preston North End: Rudd; Wiseman (King 81), Clarke, Wright, Laird; Humphrey, Kilkenny, Keane, Gallagher (Brownhill 75); Garner, C Davies. Unused substitutes: Stuckmann, K Davies, Beavon, Holmes, Buchanan, Brownhill.

Rotherham United: Collin; Tavernier, Davis, Arnason, Skarz ( Vuckic 85); Agard, Frecklington, Smallwood (O’Connor 67), Pringle; Thomas (Adams 51), Revell. Unused substitutes: Shearer, Morgan, Addison, Hitchcock.

Referee: J Adcock (Nottinghamshire).