Preston and Rotherham will go into the second leg of their League One play-off semi-final on level terms after a fiercely-contested draw at Deepdale.

Alex Revell put Rotherham in front, carrying the ball from the half-way line to slide the ball underneath goalkeeper Declan Rudd.

But North End's top scorer Joe Garner equalised with a terrific 25-yard volley early in the second half.

Neither got a winner leaving it finely poised going into the second leg.

Preston have failed to win promotion in each of their eight previous play-off campaigns and could still end that miserable run after coming from behind to ensure a third draw between the two clubs this term.

However, Simon Grayson's side had to recover from a poor first-half display as Rotherham, who are aiming to secure consecutive promotions, deservedly led at the interval.

Garner glory

Joe Garner's spectacular strike was his 24th goal of the season and his first in five games.

The Millers went in front through striker Revell, who turned his marker 50 yards from goal and enjoyed a free run into the penalty area before finishing coolly from close range.

North End had scored 14 goals in their final three home games of the campaign but failed to create any meaningful opportunities until Garner's superb strike, his 24th of a prolific season for the Lilywhites, shortly after half-time.

Rotherham, who were without their 25-goal top scorer Kieran Agard, almost restored their lead when Lee Frecklington was put through by Wes Thomas, but Rudd bravely denied him.

Fellow midfielder Rob Milsom also went close for the visitors, firing wide from 18 yards.

Both sides threatened late on, with Rudd forced into an excellent reflex save to keep out Haris Vuckic's header in stoppage time leaving the match level heading into Thursday's reverse fixture.

Preston manager Simon Grayson:

"We always knew it was going to be a tough tie and a very tight affair.

"I thought they were better than us in the first half. We didn't pass the ball well enough and like we can do.

"I'm delighted that we're still in the tie. It's game on and there's plenty to play for."

On Garner's goal:

"The way he controlled it, flicked it over the lad and then hit it first time - the keeper didn't have a chance.

"It was worthy of winning any game, never mind getting us back in the tie."

Rotherham manager Steve Evans:

"It has taken the goal of the century to break us. If there is a better goal in the play-offs this year then I'll wake up a chicken. But after that our keeper hasn't got a save to make.

"We caused a good team real problems; when you break down their squad it really is quite scary what they have got.

"We go level and if the second leg is like that it will be a fantastic game and now we have the opportunity for our fans to come and make as much noise as them.

"It's an acceptable result, it's not a good result because we usually see that as winning but it is an acceptable one. I don't think it's advantage anyone, it gives us a chance but we know they have some top players. We know it will be extremely tough to beat them."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Preston North End

  • 23 Rudd
  • 05 Clarke
  • 03 Laird
  • 31 Browne (Keane - 62' )
  • 06 Wright Booked
  • 22 King
  • 11 Holmes (Humphrey - 77' )
  • 19 Welsh Booked
  • 17 Davies (Davies - 62' )
  • 14 Garner
  • 12 Gallagher

Substitutes

  • 01 Stuckmann
  • 02 Keane
  • 07 Humphrey
  • 09 Davies
  • 10 Beavon
  • 16 Buchanan
  • 32 Wiseman

Rotherham United

  • 21 Collin
  • 02 Brindley (O'Connor - 23' )
  • 03 Skarz Booked
  • 08 Frecklington (Davis - 62' )
  • 20 Morgan
  • 27 Tavernier
  • 04 Arnason
  • 15 Milsom
  • 09 Revell
  • 26 Thomas (Vuckic - 83' )
  • 18 Pringle

Substitutes

  • 01 Shearer
  • 05 Davis
  • 10 O'Connor
  • 28 Vuckic
  • 29 Walker
  • 31 Rowe
  • 35 Hitchcock
Ref: Iain Williamson
Att: 17,221

Match Stats

Shots

11 14

On target

2 6

Corners

3 10

Fouls

11 13

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Preston North End 1, Rotherham United 1.

90:00 +5:16 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Preston North End 1, Rotherham United 1.

90:00 +4:43

Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Declan Rudd.

90:00 +4:42

Attempt saved. Haris Vuckic (Rotherham United) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Kári Arnason with a headed pass.

90:00 +4:03

Foul by Chris Humphrey (Preston North End).

90:00 +4:03

Ben Pringle (Rotherham United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

90:00 +1:44

Foul by Joe Garner (Preston North End).

90:00 +1:44

Claude Davis (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:37

Attempt missed. Paul Gallagher (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Kevin Davies with a headed pass.

90:00 +0:03 Booking

Booking Joe Skarz (Rotherham United) is shown the yellow card.

89:34

John Welsh (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

89:34

Foul by Kári Arnason (Rotherham United).

88:21

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Craig Morgan.

88:19

Attempt blocked. Kevin Davies (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Joe Garner.

86:46

Attempt missed. Joe Garner (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Paul Gallagher with a cross following a corner.

86:21

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Craig Morgan.

85:31

Attempt missed. Joe Garner (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.

85:09

Scott Laird (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

85:09

Foul by Michael O'Connor (Rotherham United).

83:26

Foul by John Welsh (Preston North End).

83:26

Robert Milsom (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:35 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Rotherham United. Haris Vuckic replaces Wes Thomas.

79:02

Offside, Rotherham United. Kári Arnason tries a through ball, but Alex Revell is caught offside.

76:50 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Preston North End. Chris Humphrey replaces Lee Holmes.

74:19 Booking

Booking Bailey Wright (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card.

74:07 Booking

Booking John Welsh (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card.

72:59

Attempt saved. Kári Arnason (Rotherham United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Robert Milsom.

70:24

Attempt missed. Paul Gallagher (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

69:19

Kevin Davies (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

69:19

Foul by Claude Davis (Rotherham United).

68:49

Attempt missed. Wes Thomas (Rotherham United) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Kári Arnason with a cross.

68:13

Foul by Lee Holmes (Preston North End).

68:13

Michael O'Connor (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

67:45

Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Bailey Wright.

66:07

Kevin Davies (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

66:07

Foul by Michael O'Connor (Rotherham United).

64:53

Offside, Rotherham United. James Tavernier tries a through ball, but Wes Thomas is caught offside.

64:18

Attempt missed. Robert Milsom (Rotherham United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

63:40

Hand ball by Lee Holmes (Preston North End).

62:52

Bailey Wright (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:52

Foul by Alex Revell (Rotherham United).

62:18

Foul by Kevin Davies (Preston North End).

62:18

Kári Arnason (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

61:57 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Rotherham United. Claude Davis replaces Lee Frecklington because of an injury.

61:31 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Preston North End. Keith Keane replaces Alan Browne.

61:15 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Preston North End. Kevin Davies replaces Craig Davies.

59:54

Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Joe Garner.

59:27

Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Jack King.

59:10

Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Lee Holmes.

59:07

Attempt blocked. James Tavernier (Rotherham United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ben Pringle.

58:36

Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Bailey Wright.

57:00

Offside, Rotherham United. James Tavernier tries a through ball, but Alex Revell is caught offside.

56:26

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

55:10

Delay in match Lee Frecklington (Rotherham United) because of an injury.

54:35

Attempt saved. Lee Frecklington (Rotherham United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Wes Thomas with a through ball.

53:36

Joe Garner (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

53:36

Foul by Michael O'Connor (Rotherham United).

51:19

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

50:33

Delay in match Alex Revell (Rotherham United) because of an injury.

50:06

Attempt missed. Alex Revell (Rotherham United) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Joe Skarz with a cross.

48:10 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Preston North End 1, Rotherham United 1. Joe Garner (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Tom Clarke.

45:48

Dangerous play by Paul Gallagher (Preston North End).

45:48

Lee Frecklington (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:18

Lee Holmes (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.

45:18

Foul by Lee Frecklington (Rotherham United).

45:00

Second Half begins Preston North End 0, Rotherham United 1.

45:00 +2:10 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Preston North End 0, Rotherham United 1.

44:52

Scott Laird (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.

44:52

Foul by Michael O'Connor (Rotherham United).

41:58

Jack King (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

41:58

Foul by Wes Thomas (Rotherham United).

41:06

Attempt blocked. James Tavernier (Rotherham United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

40:32

Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Bailey Wright.

37:46

Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by John Welsh.

37:42

Attempt blocked. James Tavernier (Rotherham United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Michael O'Connor with a cross.

37:13

Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Bailey Wright.

37:03

Attempt missed. Craig Morgan (Rotherham United) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Michael O'Connor with a cross following a corner.

36:31

Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by Scott Laird.

34:27

Offside, Rotherham United. Joe Skarz tries a through ball, but Alex Revell is caught offside.

34:02

Attempt saved. Joe Garner (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lee Holmes.

29:54

Attempt blocked. James Tavernier (Rotherham United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Robert Milsom.

28:51

Attempt blocked. Joe Garner (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Alan Browne.

27:29

Joe Garner (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

27:29

Foul by Craig Morgan (Rotherham United).

26:07

Foul by Lee Holmes (Preston North End).

26:07

Lee Frecklington (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

25:38

Attempt blocked. Craig Davies (Preston North End) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

25:19

Attempt saved. Michael O'Connor (Rotherham United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

24:03

Joe Garner (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

24:03

Foul by Craig Morgan (Rotherham United).

22:32 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Rotherham United. Michael O'Connor replaces Richard Brindley because of an injury.

22:18

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

21:22

Delay in match Richard Brindley (Rotherham United) because of an injury.

20:28 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Preston North End 0, Rotherham United 1. Alex Revell (Rotherham United) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ben Pringle following a fast break.

20:17

Attempt blocked. John Welsh (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

15:58

Offside, Preston North End. Paul Gallagher tries a through ball, but Craig Davies is caught offside.

14:28

Alex Revell (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14:28

Foul by Scott Laird (Preston North End).

9:17

Hand ball by Alex Revell (Rotherham United).

5:41

Attempt saved. Alex Revell (Rotherham United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by James Tavernier with a cross.

4:32

Alex Revell (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

4:32

Foul by John Welsh (Preston North End).

2:55

Alex Revell (Rotherham United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

2:55

Foul by Scott Laird (Preston North End).

1:06

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Kári Arnason.

1:05

Attempt blocked. Joe Garner (Preston North End) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

0:34

Foul by Alex Revell (Rotherham United).

0:34

Bailey Wright (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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