Misfiring Preston failed to give their late owner Trevor Hemmings a fitting send-off victory after a frustrating 0-0 draw with Derby at Deepdale.
A bumper crowd of 18,092 packed into the ground as the Lancashire club paid an emotional tribute to Hemmings, a huge name in football and horse racing who died aged 86 on Monday evening.
All tickets for the match were £5, with the gate receipts going to charities supported by Hemmings, while the corner flags were green and yellow – the colours that his jockeys wore as a three-time Grand National winner.
However, Preston’s players lacked a cutting edge on the pitch as the Rams dominated proceedings and wasted a hatful of chances to spoil the poignant occasion further.
The Rams started the better at Deepdale, although Graeme Shinnie spurned a glorious chance to dampen the spirits after only three minutes. The Scottish midfielder had bags of time on the edge of the box but he inexplicably blazed over.
And had it not been for a fine fingertip save from alert Preston keeper Daniel Iversen, the visitors would have been ahead in the ninth minute.
Ravel Morrison hit the target with a thumping right-footed drive from distance but Leicester loanee Iversen athletically tipped the shot over the bar.
Jason Knight had a shot blocked soon after as the Rams pushed hard for an opener but the hosts held their nerve under the early pressure.
Josh Earl headed over at the back post from a Tom Barkhuizen cross as the home side finally mustered a chance of their own, yet Iversen spared their blushes again moments later, when he got down to block Tom Lawrence’s goal-bound strike.
Festy Ebosele was then afforded far too much time and, having avoided the attentions of four players, forced Iversen to make a fine save at his near post from his powerful left-foot strike.
The Lilywhite had done little to impress in the first half but started brightly after the break and Andrew Hughes’ glancing header from an Emil Riis cross flew agonisingly wide of the far post.
At the other end, Morrison had a stinging strike charged down on the edge of the box and then dragged a right-foot curler wide as the Rams failed to make one of their numerous chances count.
Curtis Davies headed against the crossbar from Knight’s right-wing cross and seasoned centre-back Phil Jagielka saw his follow-up shot superbly saved by Iversen, who was having a game to remember.
Riis was thwarted by Rams keeper Ryan Allsop at point-blank range, before Hughes headed Ben Whiteman’s inswinging corner just wide at the back post late on but it would have been rough justice for the Rams if their Lancashire hosts had snatched victory.
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