Saints draw out agony for Redknapp

Preston North End 1

Southampton 1
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The Independent Football

Redknapp insists his relationship with the former England rugby coach is fine. Hasn't Tony Blair said similar things about Gordon Brown?

For the moment, though, the problematic relationship is that of Southampton with the Championship.

The Preston manager, Billy Davies, said the visitors were "a very good side" and "one of the favourites" for promotion, but Preston could and possibly should have beaten them.

Trailing at half-time to a freakish own goal, the home side subjected Southampton to such pressure in the second half that they rarely ventured from their own half. Patrick Agyemang's equaliser, smashed in from 15 yards off the underside of the bar, was the least Preston deserved.

Seven straight draws is not a disaster but Bond's assertion that a draw away from home is "never a bad thing" had a hollow ring. It was just as well that Callum Davidson stuck out a foot to help Darren Powell's shot into the Preston net because it was hard to see an obvious source for a Southampton goal.

Bond pointed out that losing Peter Crouch, Kevin Phillips and Henri Camara would test any side, but Davies has lost David Healy, Richard Cresswell and Eddie Lewis, not to mention Ricardo Fuller.

Davies had enough left to keep Southampton penned in their own half and, had they played, Crouch, Phillips and Camara would have seen little of the ball.

Promotion may have to wait. Still, after a couple of years out of the top flight, Sir Clive might be ready to lead them back.

Goals: Davidson og (27) 0-1; Agyemang (65) 1-1.

Preston North End (4-4-2): Nash; Alexander, Mears, Lucketti, Davidson; Sedgwick (Ayinsah, 79), McKenna (Etuhu, 90), D Jones, Neal; Agyemang (Hibbert, 79), Dichio. Substitutes not used: Nowland, Hill.

Southampton (4-4-2): Niemi; Hajto, Svensson, Powell, Higginbotham; Oakley, Wise, Quashie, Kosowski (Pahars, 63); Ormond (K Jones, 77), Fuller. Substitutes not used: Smith (gk), Crainie, Delap.

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).

Booked: Southampton Hajto, Quashie.

Man of the match: D Jones.

Attendance: 15,263.