Simon Grayson felt that Preston North End deserved their place in this evening’s draw for the second round of the Capital One Cup, even if they did make harder work than there was necessary of beating Crewe.
The Lilywhites won 3-1 at Gresty Road last night, a penalty from Jordan Hugill and Will Keane’s first competitive goal for the club putting them in command in the opening 13 minutes.
But Hugill missing a sitter after half an hour to let Crewe off the hook somewhat, the hosts halving the deficit soon after with an Adam King strike.
North End were forced to dig deep at times to protect their lead, although did hit the woodwork twice in the second half through Josh Brownill and Greg Cunningham.
Midfielder Brownhill then struck the decisive third goal in the 86th minute to ensure they went into the hat.
PNE boss Grayson said: “I told the players before the game that they had to be professional, make sure we didn’t do what a lot of Championship clubs did on Tuesday night and go out of the competition.
“We made changes but I didn’t think any of them weakened the team – any of them could have played on Sunday against Middlesbrough.
“In the first 30 minutes we played some great stuff, passed the ball around, created good chances and scored two goals.
“The third goal which we could have had when Jordan missed would have killed the game off -– there was some great passing movement to create that.
“Us not scoring that goal gave Crewe some impetus to get back into it and they went on to make it 2-1.
“It was disappointing to concede the goal, it came against the run of play after we had played so well early on.
“It was a speculative effort and probably went in the only place it could go for them to score.
“After that we had to make sure we were disciplined and organised because Crewe are a side who pass it and try to move you around.
“It just needed that third goal to put the icing on the cake and it was nice for Josh to get himself that one.
“I have always enjoyed trying to win every match I’m involved in, I was fortunate enough to win this competition as a player.
“If other teams have gone out after making loads of changes, this is only the first week of the season, the second game.
“Players are still getting their fitness and working out partnerships so I was reluctant to make changes.
“We had a couple out injured and I rested one or two but I didn’t make wholesale changes because I wanted to get through and not disrespect the competition.
“We did make it harder work for ourselves but overall we played well and deserved to win.”