Match ends, Derby County 1, Preston North End 1.
Derby County 1-1 Preston North End
Tom Barkhuizen rescued a draw for Preston at Derby with a strike five minutes into second-half stoppage time.
Matej Vydra's first goal since early October looked as if it would help the Rams leapfrog the visitors.
The Czech Republic striker turned the ball in after the visitors failed to deal with David Nugent's shot.
But Barkhuizen restored parity for North End when he scrambled the ball past Scott Carson following keeper Chris Maxwell's long ball into the box.
The late drama sees Preston remain ninth in the Championship table, nine points outside the play-off spots, while Derby are one point and one place further back.
After beating Barnsley on home soil at the weekend, and having not lost to Preston in their previous seven league meetings, the Rams would have been confident of strengthening their hopes of a play-off place with a second victory inside four days.
They started well, with Vydra heading just over the top from a pinpoint centre by Cyrus Christie, and the frontman also went close when he blasted over from Nugent's knockdown in a goalless first half.
Preston also had their moments, none more so than when Callum Robinson thought he had opened the scoring from Paul Gallagher's right-wing cross, only to see his header ruled out by an assistant referee's flag for offside.
Vydra did not let a third opportunity go begging five minutes into the second half when he showed predatory instincts to finish from six yards after Nugent's attempt deflected into his path.
But Simon Grayson's visitors did not give up the fight and pinned Derby back in the closing stages, almost levelling when Paul Huntington's header from a corner was cleared off the line by Christie, before Barkhuizen ensured a dramatic finale.
Derby manager Steve McClaren: "We defended the box with our lives but we failed on just one occasion and got punished, which I felt was very harsh on the players.
"We needed a second goal and then towards the end we needed to keep the ball better. We had our opportunities to bring it down and pass our way out, but we lumped it forward.
"There's no blame around for anyone because I thought the effort and attitude was there, but we just failed to hold on."
Preston manager Simon Grayson: "I think we showed a lot of character to keep going to the end, in the last 20 minutes we really stepped up the performance and asked questions of them.
"We suffered a late goal in the reverse fixture early in the season to lose the game so it was good to get a late one and get something out of it because I think we deserved it."
"Two more points would have made a lot of difference given that one or two of the results went in the chasing packs favour but there are still 10 games to go."
- 7RussellSubstituted forBrysonat 90'minutes
- 15JohnsonBooked at 81mins
- 23VydraSubstituted forCamaraat 74'minutes
- 28NugentSubstituted forBentat 82'minutes
- 17de Sart
- 12GallagherSubstituted forJohnsonat 74'minutes
- 14McGeadyBooked at 54mins
- 37RobinsonSubstituted forHorganat 62'minutes
- 25HugillSubstituted forMakienokat 79'minutes
- James Linington
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Derby County 1, Preston North End 1.
Goal! Derby County 1, Preston North End 1. Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Simon Makienok with a headed pass.
Attempt blocked. Daryl Horgan (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Chris Baird.
Substitution, Derby County. Craig Bryson replaces Johnny Russell.
Foul by Greg Cunningham (Preston North End).
Tom Ince (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Cyrus Christie.
Attempt blocked. Paul Huntington (Preston North End) header from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Daryl Horgan with a cross.
Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Tom Ince.
Foul by Cyrus Christie (Derby County).
Aiden McGeady (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Derby County. Scott Carson tries a through ball, but Johnny Russell is caught offside.
Substitution, Derby County. Darren Bent replaces David Nugent.
Bradley Johnson (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Bradley Johnson (Derby County).
Greg Cunningham (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Preston North End. Simon Makienok replaces Jordan Hugill.
Johnny Russell (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Daniel Johnson (Preston North End).
Chris Baird (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jordan Hugill (Preston North End).
Substitution, Preston North End. Daniel Johnson replaces Paul Gallagher.
Substitution, Derby County. Abdoul Camara replaces Matej Vydra.
Attempt missed. David Nugent (Derby County) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a set piece situation.
Tom Ince (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Paul Gallagher (Preston North End).
Attempt blocked. Tom Ince (Derby County) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Bradley Johnson.
Substitution, Preston North End. Daryl Horgan replaces Callum Robinson.
Offside, Derby County. Bradley Johnson tries a through ball, but Tom Ince is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Tom Ince (Derby County) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Foul by Alex Pearce (Derby County).
Jordan Hugill (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Aiden McGeady (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Delay in match Bradley Johnson (Derby County) because of an injury.
Bradley Johnson (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Aiden McGeady (Preston North End).