League One - 1st Leg
PrestonPreston North End1RotherhamRotherham United1
By Phil CartwrightBBC Sport at Deepdale
Preston North End's Joe Garner scores the equaliser against Rotherham

Preston and Rotherham will go into the second leg of their League One play-off semi-final on level terms after a fiercely-contested draw at Deepdale.

Alex Revell put Rotherham in front, carrying the ball from the half-way line to slide the ball underneath goalkeeper Declan Rudd.

But North End's top scorer Joe Garner equalised with a terrific 25-yard volley early in the second half.

Neither got a winner leaving it finely poised going into the second leg.

Preston have failed to win promotion in each of their eight previous play-off campaigns and could still end that miserable run after coming from behind to ensure a third draw between the two clubs this term.

However, Simon Grayson's side had to recover from a poor first-half display as Rotherham, who are aiming to secure consecutive promotions, deservedly led at the interval.

The Millers went in front through striker Revell, who turned his marker 50 yards from goal and enjoyed a free run into the penalty area before finishing coolly from close range.

North End had scored 14 goals in their final three home games of the campaign but failed to create any meaningful opportunities until Garner's superb strike, his 24th of a prolific season for the Lilywhites, shortly after half-time.

Rotherham, who were without their 25-goal top scorer Kieran Agard, almost restored their lead when Lee Frecklington was put through by Wes Thomas, but Rudd bravely denied him.

Fellow midfielder Rob Milsom also went close for the visitors, firing wide from 18 yards.

Both sides threatened late on, with Rudd forced into an excellent reflex save to keep out Haris Vuckic's header in stoppage time leaving the match level heading into Thursday's reverse fixture.

Preston manager Simon Grayson:

"We always knew it was going to be a tough tie and a very tight affair.

"I thought they were better than us in the first half. We didn't pass the ball well enough and like we can do.

"I'm delighted that we're still in the tie. It's game on and there's plenty to play for."

On Garner's goal:

"The way he controlled it, flicked it over the lad and then hit it first time - the keeper didn't have a chance.

"It was worthy of winning any game, never mind getting us back in the tie."

Rotherham manager Steve Evans:

"It has taken the goal of the century to break us. If there is a better goal in the play-offs this year then I'll wake up a chicken. But after that our keeper hasn't got a save to make.

"We caused a good team real problems; when you break down their squad it really is quite scary what they have got.

"We go level and if the second leg is like that it will be a fantastic game and now we have the opportunity for our fans to come and make as much noise as them.

"It's an acceptable result, it's not a good result because we usually see that as winning but it is an acceptable one. I don't think it's advantage anyone, it gives us a chance but we know they have some top players. We know it will be extremely tough to beat them."

Line-ups

Preston

  • 23Rudd
  • 5Clarke
  • 3Laird
  • 31BrowneSubstituted forKeaneat 62'minutes
  • 6WrightBooked at 75mins
  • 22King
  • 11HolmesSubstituted forHumphreyat 77'minutes
  • 19WelshBooked at 75mins
  • 17DaviesSubstituted forDaviesat 62'minutes
  • 14Garner
  • 12Gallagher

Substitutes

  • 1Stuckmann
  • 2Keane
  • 7Humphrey
  • 9Davies
  • 10Beavon
  • 16Buchanan
  • 32Wiseman

Rotherham

  • 21Collin
  • 2BrindleySubstituted forO'Connorat 23'minutes
  • 3SkarzBooked at 90mins
  • 8FrecklingtonSubstituted forDavisat 62'minutes
  • 20Morgan
  • 27Tavernier
  • 4Arnason
  • 15Milsom
  • 9Revell
  • 26ThomasSubstituted forVuckicat 83'minutes
  • 18Pringle

Substitutes

  • 1Shearer
  • 5Davis
  • 10O'Connor
  • 28Vuckic
  • 29Walker
  • 31Rowe
  • 35Hitchcock
Referee:
Iain Williamson
Attendance:
17,221

Match Stats

Home TeamPrestonAway TeamRotherham
Possession
Home58%
Away42%
Shots
Home11
Away14
Shots on Target
Home2
Away6
Corners
Home3
Away10
Fouls
Home11
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Preston North End 1, Rotherham United 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Preston North End 1, Rotherham United 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Declan Rudd.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Haris Vuckic (Rotherham United) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Kári Arnason with a headed pass.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Chris Humphrey (Preston North End).

  6. Post update

    Ben Pringle (Rotherham United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Joe Garner (Preston North End).

  8. Post update

    Claude Davis (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Paul Gallagher (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Kevin Davies with a headed pass.

  10. Booking

    Joe Skarz (Rotherham United) is shown the yellow card.

  11. Post update

    John Welsh (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Kári Arnason (Rotherham United).

  13. Post update

    Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Craig Morgan.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Kevin Davies (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Joe Garner.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Joe Garner (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Paul Gallagher with a cross following a corner.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Craig Morgan.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Joe Garner (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.

  18. Post update

    Scott Laird (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Michael O'Connor (Rotherham United).

  20. Post update

    Foul by John Welsh (Preston North End).