Watford 2-2 Preston North End

Preston North End F.C.

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Watford managed to salvage a point after being 2-0 down at half time to Preston North End.

North End have not won since 11 December and Brown’s wait for a victory now extends to seven games after his team failed to hold on to a 2-0 half-time lead at Vicarage Road.

The match was played on a bumpy and greasy surface and a lengthy spell of poor play followed, during which both teams struggled to come to terms with the awful pitch.

The evening started terribly for Watford as Preston’s 272-minute wait for a goal ended after Sean St Ledger was left unmarked in the Watford area and headed Barry Nicholson’s cross beyond Scott Loach. It was the first time that Preston had taken the lead since Brown was appointed.

North End midfielder Barry Nicholson managed to illuminate the contest with a rare moment of quality after 22 minutes but his 20-yard strike was superbly saved by Scott Loach.

The Hornets finally opened up the Preston North End defence shortly afterwards but Danny Graham was denied by keeper Iain Turner. And the home team extended their lead when Keith Treacy, who ensured a first half to forget for right-back Lee Hodson, delivered a low cross that Clarke slotted home at the far post. Clarke might have made it 3-0 by the break but Loach again came to his team’s rescue, seconds before his team were booed off the pitch.

Eddie Johnson and Treacy both went close for North End after the restart but Watford were much improved and pulled a goal back when Matt Whichelow superbly converted Stephen McGinn’s lay-off with a powerful 20-yard strike.

Preston substitute Darel Russell might have secured victory but his long-range strike cannoned off the crossbar and it was Watford who struck next, Adam Thompson converting at the far post after the visiting team failed to clear Martin Taylor’s long ball.

Turner had to be on his toes to tip over a curling free-kick from Don Cowie as Watford pushed for a winner but North End held on for a point to end a run of three straight defeats.

All eyes will be on Saturday when Watford travel to the Madejski Stadium to face Reading and on Tuesday when Watford play Bristol City at Vicarage Road.

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