Town's smash and grab raid

Preston 1 Ipswich 1AT least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask.After snatching a point at Deepdale, Blues boss Joe Royle admitted his side had committed a smash and grab raid and warned his players that they really need to improve.

Preston 1 Ipswich 1

AT least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask.

After snatching a point at Deepdale, Blues boss Joe Royle admitted his side had committed a smash and grab raid and warned his players that they really need to improve.

Town were outplayed for the most part and looked to be heading for defeat before Tommy Miller worked his jinx on the Lilywhites once more.


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Miller equalised after David Nugent scored on his full home debut and Darren Bent almost snatched a winner late on, which Royle confessed would have been totally unjust on Preston.

Royle added: “Their keeper (substitute Chris Neal) has made a good save but if that had of gone in I would have felt like Dick Turpin and sneaked home. We have nicked a point here after not playing anywhere near our best.

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“That is now seven points we have won without playing well and I can't really put my finger on why.

“We need to be better on Tuesday against Watford, that is for sure.”

Royle praised Preston, who made it 10 Championship games in a row without defeat, and deservedly so.

Richard Cresswell and David Nugent caused the Blues problems as Town struggled to find their rhythm.

Royle said: “Their front players swarmed all over us and Preston gave us all kinds of problems. Although, for all the superiority, Kelvin (Davis) did not have that much to do. We improved second half, but not that much, and the only good thing for me at half-time was we were only 1-0 down.”

As badly as they performed though, Ipswich have now lost just five games all season and are this morning six points clear at the top of the Championship, having pulled off their 11th comeback.

Royle said: “I said to the players that, for all the things I will say about that display, what I cannot question is their spirit. They do believe and do keep going.”

James Scowcroft's return was marred by a caution and a calf injury, which is understood to be his fifth of the season and so will miss a game, unless referee Matt Messias overturns his decision after agreeing to look at the foul.

“James Scowcroft had a great return, although we are relying on the referee's honesty to see if he is suspended,” said Royle.

Ian Westlake is also struggling for Tuesday's game against Watford with a gashed Achilles.

Understandably, Preston boss Billy Davies was feeling aggrieved after dropping two points, having a penalty turned down and losing their second keeper in 24 hours to injury.

Gavin Ward was taken to hospital after being knocked unconscious in a challenge with Westlake. Davies said: “We were robbed of three points and no wonder Joe feels like Dick Turpin. I could not ask any more of my players, who put in an excellent performance.”

Davies added: “Gavin has a very bad facial injury and is in a bad way. I'd like to see the television replay, but I thought it looked like a late challenge. It was disappointing but that's football and we just have to get on with it.”

Match report and more pictures - Pages 61 to 63

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