Deepdale draw disappoints PNE boss

Simon Grayson admitted that Preston North End's Deepdale campaign had ended on a flat note as they held to a draw by relegated Rotherham United.

Saturday, 29th April 2017, 6:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:02 pm
Alan Browne challenges in the air against Rotherham

The Lilywhites had to come from behind to get the point, Richard Smallwood having fired the bottom-placed Millers ahead early on.

Stevie May produced a timely first goal for the club to equalise, curling home a 20-yard shot in the run-up to half-time.

It was his first start since October 2015, a serious knee injury having kept him out of action for 15 months.

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Aiden McGeady shields the ball from Lee Frecklington

Grayson said: "It was a little bit disappointing because this season we have had some really good performances here against some good teams, played some free-flowing football and had some important victories.

"We wanted to produce a performance for the supporters today but unfortunately we didn't.

"We started sloppily, we were too slow in possession, didn't ask questions in a positive manner of Rotherham early on.

"Our play was a bit ponderous, a bit predictable, similar to the first half against Norwich.

Stevie May in his first start for PNE since October 2015

"Rotherham went in front which gave them something to hang on to.

"Stevie May got us out of a little bit of trouble just before half-time with a great finish.

"In the second half we were better, asked more questions of them but didn't quite get the breaks to get the three points.

"At the end, Simon Makienok's header hits the lad on the line and then another one hits the bar and goes into the keeper's hands.

Aiden McGeady shields the ball from Lee Frecklington

"Maybe a few weeks ago, they would have gone in for us."

Grayson was delighted to see May produce the goods after so long out.

While he has been back in the squad since February, the form of others had restricted him to a fringe role.

"Stevie has waited patiently, he has worked hard in training, the only reason he has not had anymore game time is due to the fact Tom Barkhuizen, Callum Robinson, Jordan Hugill, Aiden McGeady and Daryl Horgan being options up there and doing well," said Grayson.

Stevie May in his first start for PNE since October 2015

"I felt this was a good opportunity to get some game time.

"It was a great goal, he dropped into space and executed the shot really well.

"He will be the only one probably disappointed that the season is ending when it is."

Jermaine Beckford was missing from the squad, with him given permission by Grayson to return home shortly after arriving at the ground at lunchtime.

Grayson said:"Jermaine got in at quarter-to-one and came to see me.

"He had some personal problems. I told him he didn't have to be here, get yourself home to deal with them.

"It was nothing to do with football whatsoever, no one knew the team until 1.30pm so it wasn't as if people were enquiring why they weren't in the 18.

"He had some personal issues which he had only learned about as he pulled into the car park at Deepdale.

"Family life is more important than football."