Boot on the other foot in PNE's late show at Derby
Simon Grayson was pleased to see the boot on the other foot after Preston North End snatched a late, late point at Derby.
Tom Barkhuizen scored his second goal in two games in the fifth minute of stoppage time as the Lilywhites dramatically drew 1-1 at Pride Park last night.
Back in August Craig Forsyth’s 87th-minute winner had seen the Rams win 1-0 at Deepdale with Grayson feeling his side had evened the score.
“We showed a lot of character to keep going to the end,” said the PNE boss.
“It wasn’t just the last five minutes we were trying to score the goal it was the last 20.
“We really stepped up the performance and asked questions of them.
“We suffered with a late goal in the reverse fixture early in the season and it was nice to get a late one this time to get something out of it.
“Over the course of the game we probably deserved something.”
After an even first period some sloppy defensive play saw Matej Vydra give the hosts the lead five minutes into the second half.
North End toiled for large parts of the second period but it was Barkhuizen who was again on the scoresheet, the former Morecambe man following up his goal at Fulham by getting just enough on Simon Makienok’s flick on to beat Scott Carson.
“He’s done ever so well,” said Grayson, who moved the winger up front for the closing stages.
“We had him wide originally but we still felt he might get on the end of things and that proved to be the case.
“With his instinct he showed why we signed him. I was really pleased to get the equaliser and for him as well.”
Another January signing also impressed, Andy Boyle being rock solid at the heart of the defence on a Lilywhites debut that came on his 26th birthday.
“I was really pleased with him,”said Grayson.
“The lad’s waited patiently and everyone saw what a composed centre half he is.
“He defends when he needs to defend and he can handle the ball as well. He’s a modern centre back.
“He’s taken his opportunity and he should be a very proud lad.”
Ultimately however it was a point that did neither side many favours in their play-off hunt, PNE ending the night still nine points shy of the top six.
“Both of us have got our eyes on the play-offs and two points for either team would have made a real difference,” said Grayson.
“There’s still 10 games to go and 30 points to play for with teams to play in and around us.
“We’ll just keep focusing on what we need to do.”