Hugill shines as PNE grab a point in front of magnificent travelling fans
Saturday 23rd January 2017 – 3pm kick off – Villa Park – Sky Bet Championship
PNE arrived at Villa Park full of expectation after excellent performances against Arsenal and Brighton. However, none of the travelling faithful foresaw possibly the worst first half performance of the season as Aston Villa swept into a deserved 2-0 lead albeit as a result of some very questionable refereeing decisions.
The Whites started very slowly and did not seem to have any answers to the marauding Villa full backs Adomah and Hutton with wave after wave of attack on both flank causing problems every time Villa came forward. Sitting in the stands it seemed just a question of when Villa would score and the first goal came half way through the first half in controversial circumstances as Agbonglahor appeared to foul Maxwell in the six yard box as the PNE keeper came to close him down. The ball ran free and Adomah had the easy task of tapping the ball in. The 2,709 fans were incensed. However, their collective sense of injustice was exacerbated when on 36 minutes McGeady made an excellent tackle on Adomah in the penalty in full view of the Preston fans with the PNE player clearly winning the balls before the Villa player fell. Somewhat incredulously the man in the middle pointed to spot, even after consulting his linesman. Adomah dispatched the penalty and when half time arrived not many travelling fans could have predicted the outstanding 2nd half performance from Preston.
Preston started the second half full of purpose and on 64 minutes Hugill picked up the ball and ran towards the Villa goal and just outside the Villa box Hugill unleashed an unstoppable right for shot into the roof of the net past Johnson. The second half was a one sided as the first had been with Preston looking dangerous every time then went forward with Gallagher and McGeady on the ball and it was that duo who combined for McGeedy to put in a wonderful cross from the left week that firmly met by Hugill to head powerfully for a deserved equaliser. There was only 1 team who was going to win, but Preston ran out of time.
Aston Villa 2 – 2 Preston North End