No need to panic – PNE boss

PNE skipper John Welsh could not prevent Swindon stealing all three points on Tuesday night
PNE skipper John Welsh could not prevent Swindon stealing all three points on Tuesday night
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Simon Grayson is confident his Preston North End side will rediscover their winning touch in the wake of last night’s narrow defeat to Swindon.

The Lilywhites were beaten 1-0 at the County Ground, an 84th-minute header from Robins substitute Andy Williams enough to separate the sides.

After soaking up a great deal of second-half pressure from the hosts and relying on the counter-attack to take them up the pitch, it looked like North End would hold out for a draw.

However, Williams got his head to a cross which had deflected off David Buchanan to net the winner from six yards.

After putting a run of eight wins together, this was PNE’s second loss on the bounce following Saturday’s reverse at Rochdale.

Grayson, who is on the shortlist for October’s League One manager of the month award after PNE took maximum points last month, said: “We knew it would be a tough game – Swindon have a way of playing where they take chances and pop it around.

“If you are indisciplined they will pick you off and get at your back four.

“We had to make sure we stuck to our game plan and let them have the ball in certain areas, but we knew they would take risks and that we could hit them on the counter attack.

“With a bit more quality going into the final third, we could have had a couple of goals.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t quite execute the game plan to the very end and it was a disappointed dressing room afterwards.

“We started well, knew we had to play from the shape.

“What was missing from our play was passing the right ball in the final third or taking the opportunities when they came along.

“We were disappointed to concede so late. Unfortunately the ball went out wide and the cross took a deflection which took it away from a centre-half and looped towards their centre-forward who was on the move and he headed it in.

“We did okay but needed that extra bit of quality in the final third.

“We are a good team and I thought that the players responded from Saturday’s defeat.

“This is a tough division and we have had a demanding schedule but we are still in a positive place.

“If you keep momentum going you win games. That is how we got into second place in the division.

“During the season there will be defeats, but we know there will be a lot more wins.”

Grayson admitted the counter-attack had formed a key part of the game plan but too often PNE had not fired properly going forward.

He said: “The counter attack was key because Swindon get overloads in there, play one-twos around you.

“They take risks, their centre-halves run it out from the back.

“Last night was a bit like the performance at Coventry, when we were solid and looking to hit on the counter.

“The difference here was that when we got into some good areas we didn’t take the chances.

“That was so different to our other away performances.

“We were disciplined but the final ball not quite working for us.

“We will go again, we won’t get too despondent by losing two on the trot, just as we didn’t get too high when we won eight in a row.”

Grayson is up against Steve Davis (Crewe), Shaun Derry (Notts County) and Lee Johnson (Oldham) for the manager of the month honour.

The winner will be announced on Friday morning.