PNE boss delighted with performance

Paul Huntington celebrates scoring the winner
Paul Huntington celebrates scoring the winner
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Simon Grayson was full of praise for his Preston North side who overcame difficult conditions and pre-match disruptions to beat Gillingham last night.

The 1-0 win at the Priestfield Stadium was their sixth successive victory, with a goal on the hour mark from Paul Huntington delivering the three points.

PNE also hit the woodwork four times through Joe Garner, Callum Robinson, Huntington and Paul Gallagher.

A rare starting opportunity for Huntington came about because Tom Clarke was left at home suffering from a virus.

They also lost the services of Scott Wiseman in the warm-up 30 minutes before kick-off so Scott Laird had to step in to play in an unfamiliar right-back role.

Lilywhites boss Grayson said: “There were a lot of excellent performances, both individually and collectively as a team.

“The units worked really well, we created some good chances, hit the woodwork a few times and made their keeper work.

“Everyone who was called upon did their jobs, the defenders defended in difficult conditions and our goalkeeper Jamie Jones when called upon made some really important saves.

“We know that if we stay in the game against anybody we are going to get opportunities.

“Our goal came along from someone you don’t expect to score, so all round it was a very good performance against a Gillingham team who tested us at times.

“Paul Huntington hasn’t played a lot over the last year or so but he has trained ever so hard.

“We have had some opportunities to maybe let him go out to places but we have kept him around us.

“Anything which was thrown at him he defended and to get his goal was an added bonus.

“Circumstances were difficult for us with Tom Clarke being ill and Scott Wiseman being injured in the warm-up – he had been a doubt from the weekend.

“Full credit to those who came into the team. Scott Laird did well in an unfamiliar position.

“I’m delighted we have got another three points.

“I said to the players before the game that nights like this can lead you a long way towards getting to where you want to get to.

“It is never an easy place to come and given the conditions it was a tough night.

“You have to earn the right to win any game.

“We battled and scrapped when we had to, we passed it when we got chance too and got into areas where we could hurt them.

“The front four and midfield two – Neil Kilkenny more so – were getting on the ball and dictating play.”

North End let the plane take the strain yesterday, the squad flying from Manchester to Southend on a private charter.

Grayson said:”We are grateful to the owner for letting us fly there and back.

“It was a bit lively in the air with the weather being what it was but it helped with our preparation.

“The alternative was six hours on the bus coming down and six hours back, maybe longer.

“We will recover for a tough game against Fleetwood.”

There was praise from Grayson for the 216 travelling PNE fans who made the 520-mile round trip.

He said: “It was a long journey for them and I’m delighted we sent them home in good spirits.

“They saw a good performance and it just shows what this club is all about.

“Some other clubs would have had one man and a dog here but we had a decent following and they made themselves heard.

“Hopefully they all got back safely.”