PNE boss praises Davies

Joe Garner celebrates scoring PNE's second goal with Kevin Davies
Joe Garner celebrates scoring PNE's second goal with Kevin Davies
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Simon Grayson gave a pat on the back to Kevin Davies for playing his part in Preston North End’s dramatic comeback against Fleetwood at Deepdale.

It was Joe Garner who grabbed the headlines with an 18-minute hat-trick in the second half which turned the derby clash on its head.

The Cod Army were 2-0 in front by the seventh minute, Graham Alexander’s side out of the starting blocks quickly to take advantage of a sluggish PNE start.

At the interval, Davies and John Welsh came off the bench to replace Kyel Reid and Alan Browne, their experience proving key in helping North End claw their way back into the game and ultimately claim a seventh successive win.

PNE boss Grayson told the Evening Post: “I just went for Kev and John’s experience, they have the know-how to handle a game a bit better.

“Kev hasn’t played in the Premier League for the number of years he did, had the career he has had and played for England without being a fantastic player.

“Since he had his broken rib he has lost a bit of weight and worked extremely hard with the fitness coach.

“I thought that he did well coming on in the two games last week against Port Vale and Gillingham, and this time he got the whole second half.

“Kev thrives on the sort of game we had at the weekend, the rough and tumble, the physical battle of a derby match.

“He helped Joe Garner out a little bit more with how we needed to play to get back into the game.

“We always knew that Joe would go on to get chances and that proved to be the case.

“Joe would be the first to say that there was some great delivery from the boys out wide for the first two goals.

“Those were two great headers and then the third was a superb finish.

“He was disappointed that he was at fault for the first goal against us, Stephen Jordan was his man at the corner and didn’t pick up his run.

“But he made amends and got a fine hat-trick.

“Joe will get the plaudits but the team ethic and spirit deserves a lot of recognition.”

Grayson was disappointed with North End’s display in the first half, one which put their 10-month unbeaten league run at Deepdale in jeopardy.

Jordan’s opener with just 53 seconds on the clock and a Scott Laird own goal had them in trouble.

The interval gave him the opportunity to change things, with the double substitution followed 10 minutes into the second half by the arrival of third sub Chris Humphrey.

Said Grayson: “At half-t ime we would have taken 2-2.

“The first half was poor, we didn’t start the game well and we gave them two goals.

“I felt that our players were not really in the derby mode as such, they did not win enough tackles and second balls.

“The biggest difference in the second half was that the lads had a right go, they got on the front foot and won tackles further up the pitch.

“At half-time I told the lads that if we got the first goal in the second half than the place would erupt and anything could then happen.

“We did get the first goal and we dominated. I don’t think Jamie Jones had one save to make in the second half.

“Momentum is a big thing in football, Fleetwood had it in the first half and we did in the second half.”