Match ends, Preston North End 1, Norwich City 1.
Brad Potts scored a deflected 95th-minute equaliser to spark wild celebrations as Preston North End denied runaway Championship leaders Norwich City a 10th win in 11 games.
Emi Buendia's stunning long-range effort looked to be enough to overcome manager-less Preston and earn the Canaries a win that would have set a new club record of 14 away league victories in a season.
The normally reliable Teemu Pukki had missed three great chances to be sure, unluckily seeing a fierce strike come back off the bar and also missing two wonderful one-on-one chances.
Preston took advantage of the away side's profligacy and avoided a fourth successive loss when Potts cut in from the left and found the corner of the net with a well-struck effort from the edge of the box.
The Canaries, who have drawn successive games after a nine-game winning run, should have been out of sight well before the leveller despite a strong start by the hosts.
Preston, in their first game under interim boss Frankie McAvoy since sacking Alex Neil, impressed early on against the champions elect but lacked a cutting edge to match their passion and impressive approach play.
Moments before falling behind, Scott Sinclair wasted a great opportunity when he failed to get a decent connection on a close-strike strike and then had his follow-up attempt blocked.
Bunedia's classy finish then settled Norwich and Daniel Farke's side showed the quality and confidence that makes an instant return to the Premier League almost certain despite this minor setback.
Pukki should have made it 2-0 by the interval but dragged an effort wide and did likewise in the second half, while he also crashed an effort off the underside of the bar from a tight angle after being played in by Buendia.
Potts made Pukki pay, however, and Norwich now need a maximum of 13, rather than 11 points, from seven games to be certain of promotion.
Preston interim head coach Frankie McAvoy told BBC Radio Lancashire: "What we were looking for was a positive result and that was the biggest thing for us.
"I just thought the effort, the work-rate, the hunger and desire they showed up to the 95th minute was excellent and that's what you're looking for as a coach.
"We put Pottsy up top. He's a big lad, he can win a flick-on, or get in the box and take something in, which we actually did.
"He managed to shake off a defender and turn. Fortunately enough for us it took a deflection and ended up in the back of the net."
Norwich head coach Daniel Farke told BBC Radio Norfolk: "Once Tim Krul put the ball up front, the four minutes were over and everyone expected the final whistle. At this moment perhaps we were already a bit too sure.
"We could have had more pressure on the ball and shouldn't have allowed them to play it long. Their only strike on goal was, if we're honest, not even a proper chance.
"When you're so close to winning the game and concede such a sucker punch in the last moment, of course we are really disappointed.
"But football can be the cruellest, most unfair sport in the world and sometimes out of nothing you can concede. Once the dust has settled, it's been possible to stay unbeaten and also edge one point closer."
- 2van den Berg
- 18LedsonBooked at 9mins
- 31SinclairSubstituted forMolumbyat 57'minutes
- 29BarkhuizenSubstituted forMaguireat 71'minutes
- 11JohnsonSubstituted forPottsat 64'minutes
- 26EvansSubstituted forWhitemanat 71'minutes
- 19Riis JakobsenSubstituted forGordonat 71'minutes
- 17BuendíaSubstituted forSkippat 82'minutes
- 10DowellSubstituted forStiepermannat 72'minutes
- 14CantwellSubstituted forHernándezat 89'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 22PukkiSubstituted forHugillat 89'minutes
- Dean Whitestone
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Preston North End 1, Norwich City 1.
Attempt missed. Kenny McLean (Norwich City) left footed shot from more than 35 yards is too high. Assisted by Jordan Hugill.
Goal! Preston North End 1, Norwich City 1. Brad Potts (Preston North End) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ryan Ledson.
Attempt saved. Benjamin Whiteman (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Grant Hanley.
Foul by Jordan Hugill (Norwich City).
Ryan Ledson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Onel Hernández (Norwich City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Onel Hernández (Norwich City).
Liam Lindsay (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Jacob Sørensen (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ryan Ledson (Preston North End).
Substitution, Norwich City. Onel Hernández replaces Todd Cantwell.
Substitution, Norwich City. Jordan Hugill replaces Teemu Pukki.
Attempt blocked. Marco Stiepermann (Norwich City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Todd Cantwell.
Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Jordan Storey.
Attempt blocked. Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Oliver Skipp.
Attempt saved. Marco Stiepermann (Norwich City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Todd Cantwell.
Attempt blocked. Marco Stiepermann (Norwich City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Teemu Pukki.
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