PNE dream is Beck on

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Simon Grayson expressed himself content with Preston North End’s narrow victory over Chesterfield in last night’s play-off first-leg.

An early goal from Jermaine Beckford was enough to give PNE a 1-0 win at the Proact Stadium.

Preston North End's Jermaine Beckford is congratulated on scoring his goal

Preston North End's Jermaine Beckford is congratulated on scoring his goal

It was the Lilywhites first ever away win in the play-offs, this their 10th time in the Football League’s end-of-season knock-out.

Victory gave them a narrow advantage to take into Sunday lunchtime’s second leg at Deepdale. North End boss Grayson said: “We knew it was going a really tough game against a good footballing team who play with a good tempo and move the ball quickly.

“At times we had to surrender a little bit of possession because if you go chasing the ball, they pick you off with their movement and rotation in their top two or three.

“We had to be disciplined, which we were, and we always looked like we could score on the counter attack.

“It is only half a job done so far.

“I’m pleased with how we responded, we defended like we had to do and still played when we got chances.

“We could have passed it a little bit better but overall I was pleased enough.

“We made a decent start with the goal.

“It was a great ball in to Joe Garner who made a fantastic decision to go over it and let it run to Jermaine.

“When he went through you don’t expect anything else from him, you expect him to hit the target at the very least.

“To chip the keeper like he did shows a lot of confidence and belief in his own ability.

“I thought we started the game really well, stopped them from playing, pressed high up the pitch.

“Then we had to defend against a good side.

“I’m delighted to have got the win and the clean sheet, I thought we worked extremely hard.

“We pressed in certain areas and when the ball came into the box, we had to defend it well.

“Towards the end we got into some good positions on the break and could have put the icing on the cake.

“We always knew we would get chances with a strike force of Beckford and Garner.

“Now we focus on another game on Sunday at Deepdale.”

Preston should have been playing against 10 men for all but three minutes of the second half.

Spireites midfielder clearly elbowed Paul Gallagher in the face but strangely, referee Mark Haywood chose to book both players.

Said Grayson: “At the time I didn’t really see because he had his back to us.

“I have since seen it on Sky and he has caught Gally flush in the face with an elbow.

“He probably should have got sent-off.

“I thought the referee struggled to control the game at times, making some strange decisions for both teams.

“He should have booked people when he didn’t and vice-versa.

“I’m not one to criticise officials but possibly he needed more help.

“The biggest surprise was that Gally got a yellow card for no reason at all in the incident with Ryan.

“That was a strange decisions but these things happen in football.”