Quality missing in final third says Grayson

Paul Gallagher challenges Josh Vela in PNE's clash with Bolton

Paul Gallagher challenges Josh Vela in PNE's clash with Bolton

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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson admitted that defences had been on top in a dour derby clash with Bolton Wanderers at Deepdale on Saturday night.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between in the goalless draw, played out in front of a crowd of 14,494 and the Sky Sports cameras.

While it was a fourth consecutive clean sheet for the Lilywhites, rarely did they look like scoring.

Bolton were similarly blunt in attack, their best chance falling to substitute Gary Madine whose shot was saved late on by PNE goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Grayson said: "From both sides there was a lot of endeavor, hard work and desire but defences were on top and the midfield keenly contested,

"Where it mattered, especially from our point of view, we didn't have that extra quality in our decision-making needed to go on and win the game.

"We got into some good positions but made the wrong choices.

"If you look at the final ball, whether it was a pass or a cross, it did not really get to where we wanted it to.

"Give credit to the Bolton defenders who blocked a lot of shots.

"We had a great opportunity when Jordan Hugill was going through, he should have got his head up and picked Daniel Johnson out rather than shoot.

"Things like that are the difference between winning or drawing a game.

"Ultimately we have taken another point, they are hard to earn and we will take it.

"But we are disappointed not to have won the game.

"We have to have a bit more care and quality about our attacking play.

"When one goal goes in from a striker, I'm sure we will gather that extra belief and confidence in front of goal which is missing at the moment."

Both sides could have gone down to 10 men in the first half.

Calum Woods was lucky to escape with only a booking when he brought down Max Clayton just outside the box, the PNE defender appearing to be the last man.

Six minutes later, Darren Pratley got a yellow card for a late challenge on Bailey Wright.

Grayson said: "People are telling me it could have a red or yellow for Calum.

"Others are telling me that Darren Pratley could have got a red card for the tackle on Bailey.

"No one wants to see players get sent-off and you want to keep it at 11 versus 11.

"When you look at them, the decisions evened themselves out."