Wallace nets at both ends in Deepdale draw

Murray Wallace scored at both ends of the pitch as his play-off chasing Millwall side drew 1-1 against Preston at Deepdale.

The Scottish defender turned the ball into his own net after just six minutes but atoned by heading in an equaliser 16 minutes later.

The draw left the Lions three points off the Championship’s top six with four games to play.

Preston started well and Daniel Johnson wriggled into the penalty area and pulled one back for Brad Potts, whose powerful effort was well blocked by Millwall midfielder Billy Mitchell.

Minutes later the Millwall backline were made to pay for letting Johnson into the area. This time his cut-back was turned into his own net from close-range by Wallace under no real pressure.

Preston North End's Daniel Johnson battles with Millwall's Jed Wallace

Preston North End’s Daniel Johnson battles with Millwall’s Jed Wallace

But Millwall started to build up a bit of possession and it soon paid off. Jed Wallace stood a cross up and his namesake powered an unstoppable header into the top corner to make it 1-1 after 22 minutes.

Millwall were looking content to bide their time and dominate the ball.

North End’s hopes of going back in front were hit when skipper Alan Browne was forced off through injury on the half hour.

After a quiet spell, the second half soon came to life when Millwall somehow failed to score.

Just as the Millwall fans were getting on striker Benik Afobe’s back he nearly poked home but was denied by an amazing Daniel Iversen save.

The goalkeeper stood up and saved from Jed Wallace and Danny McNamara from close range to complete a stunning triple save, before the ball ended up on the edge of the Preston penalty area where Maikel Kieftenbeld curled one on to the outside of a post.

Straight up the other end, Cameron Archer – who had been quiet all afternoon – played a little dink through to Sean Maguire who could not get a decent contact and this time Bartosz Bialkowski smothered the shot.

Shortly after, a Potts mis-hit into the ground had to be saved by Bialkowski when it looked like it may sneak into the top corner.

Then substitute Josh Murphy, with a curling effort from the edge of the penalty area, saw his shot saved by Bialkowski’s outstretched hand.

With 10 minutes to play it was impossible to say which way the game would go.

Afobe hit a snap-shot straight at Iversen, George Saville had an effort blocked by Preston’s Ali McCann and Johnson had a shot deflected wide.

But despite best efforts, both sides had to be content to share the points.

What the managers said…

Preston’s Ryan Lowe: “We know now that we can get up to the top end of the pitch and it is then about getting that little bit of quality. If we have that quality in front of goal we’d have two, three or four goals. The players have been fantastic but it is tough sometimes to adapt. I want them to be braver. The back lads in the first half are hitting the ball long and I’m screaming at them to say, ‘play’, we have worked on it all week in training.

“You can beat the press and you can get round it. I have told them I will take responsibility if anything goes wrong with that, because I am the one that is telling them to play. So they are developing, they are getting stronger and getting better week in, week out. The performance levels have gone through the roof but I don’t just want mediocre, I want a bit more.”

Millwall’s Gary Rowett: “It was important that we didn’t lose the game, and we have had a couple of moments in the second half when we have created a couple of very good chances that could be the difference between winning it. In the first half we didn’t put enough energy into the performance. I was really disappointed with our start. I don’t suppose a seven-hour coach journey yesterday would have helped but Preston are a good side and you can’t allow them to dictate the game at home because they have had very good home form and they move the ball well.

“I said to the players that if you want to win games like this you have to grab them by the scruff of the neck. That was a little bit disappointing but I thought we grew into the game. Second half we were much better. A point is not much good for Preston, but a point for us might be OK if we go and win again on Monday.”