Grayson: PNE were better team in second half
Preston North End boss Simon Grayson felt an improved second-half performance from his side against Brighton might have deserved more than the point they got at Deepdale.
The game ended in a goalless draw, a shot from Calum Woods which was pushed against the underside of the bar, the closest North End came to beating Chris Hughton’s fourth-placed side.
Grayson said: “I thought it was a decent game, Brighton are a very strong team with some potent strike options and good players in wide areas.
“Off the ball we did very well, our shape was good and we limited them to very few opportunities.
“In the first half I was disappointed that we didn’t pass the ball well enough, we were a bit too long and predictable, maybe we gave Brighton a bit too much respect.
“But in the second half we got on the front foot, passed it shorter and quicker, and I thought we were the best team.
“We had a good chance with Calum Woods’ shot which their goalkeeper made a good save from.
“To keep two clean sheets against Brighton this season, a side up there looking for automatic promotion, was a big ask for the players and they did it.
“Maybe we deserved a win with the chances we had but it’s another point.”
The Lilywhites were without first-choice goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard, the on-loan Dane ruled out as he was suffering from a stomach bug.
Chris Kirkland made his first appearance in the Championship for PNE, with youngster Matt Hudson on the bench as cover.
Said Grayson:“Anders trained yesterday, he had a little bit of a virus but he seemed fine.
“Then driving in at dinnertime before the game he felt really rough so he saw the doctor and was sent straight home.
“It was disappointing that he missed out but we were able to call on the experience of Chris Kirkland.
“Kirky had missed 10 days with a knee injury and only started training again on Thursday.
“He showed his experience and calmness, what he had to do was very good, he was composed and the defenders in front of him protected Kirky very well.
“The defence played really well. Even though Brighton didn’t cause us loads of problems, they dealt with what they had to do against some strong strikers and tricky wingers.”
North End’s draw kept them in the 10th place, six points behind Sheffield Wednesday who occupy the final play-off place.
They are back in action against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Tuesday night.