Championship
Aston Villa1Preston1

Aston Villa 1-1 Preston North End

Lewis Grabban scores a penalty for Aston Villa
Lewis Grabban coolly slotted his penalty low and down the middle of the goal

Aston Villa were given one of their toughest home tests of the season as they missed a chance to move back up to second in the Championship, being held by promotion rivals Preston North End.

North End looked poised to win when a poor clearance let in Tom Barkhuizen's overhead kick to earn a half-time lead.

But Villa responded well to the half-time introduction of substitute front pair Lewis Grabban and Keinan Davis.

Davis won the penalty which Grabban calmly converted from the spot.

The January loan signing from Bournemouth sent North End keeper Declan Rudd the wrong way, holding his nerve to stroke the ball right down the middle for his first goal for third-placed Villa, who moved back to within a point of Cardiff.

Preston drop two places to ninth, despite a second very good performance in three days after also holding leaders Wolves on Saturday.

Plenty of chances at Villa Park

The hosts had the better of the first half, Rudd going full length to keep out Birkir Bjarnason's long range effort, then a John Terry header from the resulting Robert Snodgrass corner. He also denied Scott Hogan's powerful near-post shot after a clever turn.

But, when Johnstone was tested at the other end on 37 minutes, he tried to punch clear under pressure from Callum Robinson's left-wing corner, could only flap at it and Barkhuizen's cheeky scissors kick looped into the net.

If Villa were unlucky to trail at the break, they were soon lucky not be further behind, as Johnstone atoned with big saves from Paul Huntington's header and former Villa trainee Robinson's shot.

But, after a Preston purple patch, Grabban came to the rescue from the spot when Davis went down after being shoved in the back by Barkhuizen. And it was then Villa who came closest to winning it.

Grabban's right-foot volley dipped just over and Alan Hutton then cut in to send a lower trajectory right-foot shot fizzing past the right angle of post and bar.

Then, after a great flick and turn, Davis sent Grabban down the right but, when the youngster latched onto the end of the cross to complete what would have been a magnificent one-two, he steered it wide.

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce told BBC Sport:

"We found it difficult. They've only lost one in 17 and you can see why. They have a fantastic work effort with good players and, in this league, they're a threat for anybody.

"We've given them a goal. They got a break with their first attempt which was a mistake by us. Then Snoddy (Robert Snodgrass) was sick at half time and we had to change fit.

"If I'm being brutally honest, when I first saw it, I thought our penalty looked a bit soft, but having seen it again on the video, it was actually a ridiculous challenge. He just jumped into him. The referee and linesman have got it spot on.

"It might not have been fair but we might even have won it in the end. The best ball of the match and Keinan Davis couldn't quite get on the end of it."

Preston manager Alex Neil told BBC Sport:

"We were the better side viewed over the 90 minutes, in every facet of the game. We've come here and dominated.

"It's just disappointing that it was a really soft penalty that got them back into it. It was the linesman that gave it, not the referee.

"Whenever you come to a big away ground, you hope that it will be a level playing field and that you get a strong referee and I didn't think that was the right decision.

"But we created enough chances to have won it. And we only scored one goal and that leaves you susceptible."

Line-ups

Aston Villa

  • 1Johnstone
  • 28TuanzebeSubstituted forEl Mohamadyat 85'minutes
  • 5Chester
  • 26TerryBooked at 79mins
  • 21Hutton
  • 15JedinakBooked at 51mins
  • 7SnodgrassSubstituted forGrabbanat 45'minutes
  • 14HourihaneSubstituted forDavisat 45'minutes
  • 18Onomah
  • 20BjarnasonBooked at 22mins
  • 9Hogan

Substitutes

  • 3Taylor
  • 6Whelan
  • 8Lansbury
  • 27El Mohamady
  • 31Bunn
  • 39Davis
  • 45Grabban

Preston

  • 1RuddBooked at 90mins
  • 14FisherBooked at 34mins
  • 23Huntington
  • 20Davies
  • 3Cunningham
  • 4PearsonBooked at 65mins
  • 8Browne
  • 39BodinSubstituted forHarropat 90+1'minutes
  • 37Robinson
  • 29BarkhuizenSubstituted forSimpsonat 90+8'minutes
  • 21MoultSubstituted forHorganat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Horgan
  • 10Harrop
  • 15Woods
  • 17Spurr
  • 22Maxwell
  • 27Simpson
  • 32Earl
Referee:
Darren England
Attendance:
30,894

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamPreston
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home12
Away21
Shots on Target
Home6
Away7
Corners
Home3
Away7
Fouls
Home18
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Preston North End 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Preston North End 1.

Keinan Davis (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Josh Harrop (Preston North End).

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Connor Simpson replaces Tom Barkhuizen because of an injury.

Booking

Declan Rudd (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt missed. Keinan Davis (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lewis Grabban with a cross following a fast break.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Josh Harrop replaces Billy Bodin.

Foul by Scott Hogan (Aston Villa).

Ben Davies (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Keinan Davis (Aston Villa).

Greg Cunningham (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Alan Hutton (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Josh Onomah.

Attempt missed. Lewis Grabban (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Scott Hogan.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Ahmed El Mohamady replaces Axel Tuanzebe.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Daryl Horgan replaces Louis Moult.

Foul by Josh Onomah (Aston Villa).

Ben Pearson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Scott Hogan (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Birkir Bjarnason with a cross.

Attempt saved. Paul Huntington (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tom Barkhuizen.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Axel Tuanzebe.

Booking

John Terry (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Attempt blocked. Callum Robinson (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Billy Bodin.

Attempt missed. Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt saved. Lewis Grabban (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt saved. Louis Moult (Preston North End) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Billy Bodin.

Foul by Keinan Davis (Aston Villa).

Alan Browne (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alan Browne (Preston North End).

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Alan Hutton.

Foul by Keinan Davis (Aston Villa).

Greg Cunningham (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End).

Goal!

Goal! Aston Villa 1, Preston North End 1. Lewis Grabban (Aston Villa) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the centre of the goal.

Booking

Ben Pearson (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card.

Penalty Aston Villa. Keinan Davis draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End) after a foul in the penalty area.

Offside, Aston Villa. Scott Hogan tries a through ball, but Lewis Grabban is caught offside.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wolves32226457243372
2Cardiff32187748272161
3Aston Villa33179749301960
4Derby321610648262258
5Fulham321510754361855
6Bristol City32141174738953
7Sheff Utd32164124638852
8Middlesbrough331561243311251
9Preston33121564032851
10Brentford331311950401050
11Millwall331112103935445
12Leeds32136134441345
13Ipswich32136134442245
14Norwich32129113235-345
15QPR33109143646-1039
16Sheff Wed33813123540-537
17Nottm Forest33114183651-1537
18Reading3289153542-733
19Bolton3389162951-2233
20Birmingham3386192249-2730
21Hull32611154350-729
22Burton3378182659-3329
23Barnsley32610163147-1628
24Sunderland33511173458-2426
View full Championship table

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