PNE victory totally deserved says Grayson

Daniel Johnson celebrates his winning goal for PNE against Reading with Jordan Hugill and Alan Browne

Daniel Johnson celebrates his winning goal for PNE against Reading with Jordan Hugill and Alan Browne

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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson felt that his side were fully deserving of their victory over Reading.

Jermaine Beckford and Daniel Johnson netted in the 2-1 win at the Madejski Stadium, Johnson’s winner arriving a few seconds into stoppage-time.

Beckford had given North End the lead in the 55th minute, the visitors’ dominance finally paying off.

Stephen Quinn’s 86th minute equaliser for the Royals pegged PNE back, only for Johnson to meet Adam Reach’s pass in the box and tuck a composed finish past home keeper Ali Al Habsi to the delight of 778 travelling Preston supporters.

Grayson said: “We certainly warranted the victory, our attacking play today was probably as good as it has been all season.

“I thought we played exceptionally well, we played a quick game in which we passed the ball very well.

“How we didn’t come in at half-time ahead, is a mystery.

“We need to be more ruthless, although give credit to Paul McShane who made a great tackle and Ali Al Habsi who made some great saves.

“We got into some great positions but didn’t finish the game off – we could have done that by half-time.

“In the second half we knew that we had to go again to go and win the game.

“The lads showed again that they are not on their holidays.

“We had said to them before the game that we wanted to finish the season in a positive manner and get as many points as possible.

“A lot of teams might have settled for a 1-1 draw when Reading equalised.

“Had we drawn the game we would have been hugely disappointed because of all the chances we had.

“They showed they have a fantastic spirit for each other and for the club, and went on to rightly win the game.”

Grayson felt that Johnson had put in his best performance for quite a while in the PNE midfield and was pleased to see Beckford on the scoresheet again.

He said: “Jermaine and Joe Garner were a handful, we played DJ just behind them in a position which meant he could be more expansive.

“Becks stretched the game and opened it up for others to get on the ball.

“We used the ball well, went short, long and out wide.”

Victory kept PNE in 11th place, three points ahead of Leeds United who they play on the final day of the season next Saturday.

They are guaranateed a top-half finish if Queens Park Rangers fail to beat Burnley on Monday.

Grayson reported that Greg Cunningham had twisted his ankle when landing awkwardly after going up for a header in the second half.

Skipper Tom Clarke missed the game after suffering a slight calf strain in training on Friday.