Poor second-half show costly for PNE

Callum Robinson celebrates scoring PNE's second goal in the 2-2 draw with Gillingham

Callum Robinson celebrates scoring PNE's second goal in the 2-2 draw with Gillingham

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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson was left to rue a very disappointing second-half display against Gillingham as the Lilywhites threw away a two-goal lead and had to settle for a draw at Deepdale.

They looked to be heading for victory as Jermaine Beckford and Callum Robinson put them 2-0 in front going into the interval.

In fact the lead should have been greater with North End creating 16 chances in the first half.

But the Gills hit back in the second period, Jermain McGlashan halving the deficit in the 58th minute.

Then Leon Legge headed a stoppage-time leveller to ensure a point went back to Kent with the visitors.

Grayson said:”Overall I felt the whole team lost their individual battles in the second half and it was typified in the last minute when their lad hit a worldy pass and Legge got in at the first post to loop a header over Sam Johnstone.

“For whatever reason the players didn’t perform in the second half.

“Sometimes that happens but you still have to make sure you defend properly, stop people playing the ball forward and pick up in the box.

“We didn’t do the simple things which led to them scoring their two goals.

“The dressing room was hugely disappointing.”

With four games to go, North End hold a three-point lead over MK Dons who were 3-0 winners at Fleetwood.

Fourth place Swindon also hit form with a 4-2 victory over Rochdale at Spotland.

Said Grayson: “We did say there will be twists and turns - we weren’t taking anything for granted after the good results we’d had.

“We are still in a good position but with a lot of hard work still to be done.

“Other teams will be pleased with the results as we were when others dropped points.

“We have four games to go and are three points ahead, we have to keep believing.

“The lads are a good bunch and we are still in a very strong position - that is a positive.

“Had we lost the game or dropped out of the top two, we would have been more concerned

“But we can finish the job off and have got the positives of how we played in the first half.

“We go again at Port Vale on Friday.”