Howard saves day as Blades make a point

BOTH managers praised the quality of football on show at Deepdale after settling for a point.

Sheffield United's Mark Howard (Picture: Martyn Harrison).

Sheffield United chief 
Nigel Clough had warned that this would be one of the Blades’ toughest tests of the season and so it proved.

But Clough said: “It was a brilliant game throughout with chances at both ends.

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“I’m biased, but I thought we just edged it, especially in the first half.

“The second half was open again, with chances at both ends. We could have won it before Mark Howard came up with a couple of saves to preserve the point for us.”

Counterpart Simon Grayson, whose Preston side remain unbeaten in League One, held a contrasting view about how the game should have gone and said: “There are fine margins in football matches. Any supporter who has been at Deepdale would have felt they’ve seen a fantastic game of football. There were chances scored and missed.

“We’ll probably feel more disappointed that we’ve not gone home with the three points given the opportunities we’ve had, especially in the second half.”

Andy Little opened the scoring for the hosts when his curling cross found the far corner of Mark Howard’s net.

Jose Baxter levelled for the Blades with a deflected effort from just outside the area in the 41st minute.

Howard later kept out Jack King’s header to keep it 1-1 and Michael Higdon’s effort at the other end was cleared off the line.

Preston North End: Jones, Wiseman, King, Clarke, Ben Davies (Woods 46), Humphrey, Kilkenny, Brownhill (Hugill 64), Browne, Little (Gallagher 76), Garner. Unused substitutes: Wright, Kevin Davies, Stuckmann, Hayhurst.

Sheffield United: Howard, Davies, Collins, McGahey, McEveley, Campbell-Ryce, Basham, Doyle (Harris 90), Murphy, Baxter (Wallace 81), Higdon (McNulty 78). Unused substitutes: Flynn, McGinn, Reed, Turner.

Referee: S Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear).

Man of the match: Neil Kilkenny.