Match report: Preston 3 Rotherham 3

Lee Frecklington fires past Declan Rudd to put the Millers in front.
Lee Frecklington fires past Declan Rudd to put the Millers in front.
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With a tremendous record of seven wins in their last eight away games, this was seen as the real test of Rotherham’s capabilities on their travels with Preston unbeaten in their last 11.

Well, in a pulsating game, they went two up, got overhauled and produced yet another late goal, their fourth in the last four games - to take a point in their first away draw since September.

Preston North End v Rotherham United - SkyBet League 1 - 25th February 2014 - Lee Frecklington slides in celebration of his late equaliser against Preston

Preston North End v Rotherham United - SkyBet League 1 - 25th February 2014 - Lee Frecklington slides in celebration of his late equaliser against Preston

They had a great start then were second best for a long spell but showed great fighting spirit to peg Preston back and level with Lee Frecklington’s second of the game with the home side reduced to hanging on.

It couldn’t have started better for the Millers with two goals in the opening nine minutes to back up a real confident start and quieten Deepdale.

The opener on six minutes was a cracking finish from Frecklington. James Tavernier spotted his run into the area, the midfielder dragged the pass from slightly behind him into his path and from a narrow angle thrashed it into the roof of the net.

They followed this up with a second originating from a typically wicked inswinging free-kick from Ben Pringle. It was a nightmare to defend against and it glanced off Keith Keane’s head and then deflected off the head of Tom Clarke inside the far post.

But a Preston side packed with experience, of players who have been round the block, were never going to do anything other than take it as an affront and they slowly worked their way back into the match with Neil Kilkenny doing some effective string-pulling in midfield.

However, there was anxiety for the home crowd when Wes Thomas went down under a challenge from behind in the area but the penalty shouts went unheeded.

Preston were making inroads by the time they were right back in it eight minutes before half-time, Craig Davies using his strength to ‘roll’ Tavernier and fire into the far corner.

It meant the second half would really tell us more about the Millers against this threatening North End side and within 20 minutes they were behind.

Paul Gallagher levelled on the hour, turning on the edge of the area and curling an effort inside the far post.

Five minutes later, with the scent of another in their nostrils, the powerful home side surged forward again and Joe Garner headed home from a Humphrey cross.

Rotherham produced an instant response and sub Nicky Adams had a close-in goalbound shot blocked and it was to lead to their first real spell of attacking in the half against a side winning their share of physical battles.

They kept pushing as well and Adams had a chance on the edge of the area and struck the volley over.

They were rewarded on 88 minutes with the equaliser, fired in from 16 yards by Frecklington after an Adams shot had been blocked as Revell nodded down a free-kick. It was Frecklington’s 11th goal of the campaign.

*Preston North end: Rudd; Wiseman (King 81), Wright, Clarke, Laird, Humphrey, Keane, Kilkenny, Gallagher (Brownhill 75), C Davies, Garner. Subs: Stuckmann, K Davies, Beavon, Holmes, Buchanan.

*Rotherham: Collin; Tavernier, Davis, Arnason, Skarz (Vuckic 85); Agard, Frecklington, Smallwood (O’Connor 67), Pringle; Thomas (Adams 50), Revell. Subs: Shearer, Morgan, Addison, Hitchcock.

*Goals: Frecklington (6, 88), Clarke (og 9) for Millers; C Davies (37), Gallagher (60), Garner (65) for PNE.