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Norwich left frustrated by determined Preston in goalless draw

Liam Gibbs missed Norwich’s best chance in the draw with Preston (Simon Marper/PA)
Liam Gibbs missed Norwich’s best chance in the draw with Preston (Simon Marper/PA)

Norwich were frustrated by a determined rearguard action from Preston as a hard-fought Championship encounter at Carrow Road ended goalless.

The visitors, who were on a run of three successive defeats, showed plenty of spirit against a Norwich side who had won three of their previous four games and just about deserved their share of the spoils.

For all their possession Norwich only threatened sporadically, with their best chance arriving in the closing stages when substitute Liam Gibbs missed the target with a clear sight of goal.

Preston hit the crossbar through Ben Whiteman but it was their defensive work that caught the eye on a miserable afternoon.

Norwich dominated a low-key first half in which Preston failed to register a single effort, on or off target.

The visitors were on their game defensively, however, and a low skidder from Marcelino Nunez which fizzed just wide was the only moment of excitement in the opener quarter.

The Canaries went even closer after 27 minutes when Onel Hernandez broke free on the left before bringing a comfortable save out of Freddie Woodman, with Jack Whatmough on hand to clear up the loose ends.

There was another scare for Preston on the half-hour mark, with Christian Fassnacht popping up at the back post and getting in a shot on goal after his initial header had been blocked but Liam Lindsay got in a vital block to keep the scoreline blank.

It was a similarly one-sided story after the interval, with dominant Norwich still struggling to create clear-cut openings.

Preston almost made them pay on 55 minutes when Brad Potts’ glancing header from Alan Browne’s free-kick was only just wide.

Norwich substitute Jon Rowe threatened at the other end with a volley which was well blocked but it was Preston who nearly opened the scoring just past the hour mark, Whiteman’s first-time drive coming back off the crossbar after Angus Gunn had flapped at a high ball.

With the game approaching its final 10 minutes, Norwich wasted a glorious chance to edge ahead when Gabriel Sara picked out an unmarked Gibbs in the box, only for the substitute to guide the ball wastefully wide.

In a grandstand finish, Shane Duffy’s powerful header from a corner was blocked on the line by a defender and Whatmough almost forced the ball home at the other end but it ended goalless.