Garner treble takes Preston’s promotion push down to the wire

Joe Garner celebrates completing his hat-trick in PNE's win over Swindon
Joe Garner celebrates completing his hat-trick in PNE's win over Swindon
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Simon Grayson saluted a fine performance from Preston North End in their Deepdale victory over Swindon Town.

The 3-0 win, courtesy of a Joe Garner hat-trick, means three points at Colchester on the final day of the season would guarantee promotion to the Championship.

They take a one-point lead over third-place MK Dons into the Colchester game, MK having won 3-2 at Rochdale.

Lilywhites manager Grayson said: “We’ve said for the last three or four games that our destiny was in our own hands.

“We cannot affect what happens at other football clubs, all we can do is win our matches.

“It all boils down to a one-game season next weekend at Colchester.

“For us to be where we are and what we have done, is testament to the players.

“At this stage of the season to be 18 games unbeaten – giving ourselves an opportunity to get promoted – is fantastic.

“We are focused and determined to do that.”

North End made the perfect start, Garner finding the net inside two minutes.

The striker, making his 100th appearance for North End, guided home a Paul Gallagher cross.

Garner doubled the advantage in first-half stoppage-time and completed his hat-trick six minutes into the second half.

Grayson said: “We wanted to get out amongst them, regardless of the team they put out, we knew Swindon would keep possession, move the ball around and we had to be patient and disciplined.

“We knew that chances would come along. It was the perfect start for us when Joe scored.

“After that, Swindon had some possession without really hurting us.

“The second goal gave us a bit of breathing space before half-time and the big goal was obviously the third one.

“That gave us that confidence to go and win the game.

“It was a fantastic individual performance from Joe but obviously the team ethic was the most important one.

“Hopefully next week is icing on the cake for Joe and football club.”