Justice done says PNE sub Jordan
Jordan Hugill climbed off the bench to have the final word in Preston North End's season, scoring a stoppage-time equaliser against Leeds United.
The striker struck in the 92nd minute, drilling home from eight yards to earn a 1-1 draw in the Deepdale sunshine.
Leeds had gone in front in the 78th minute, Chris Wood netting from the penalty spot.
Hugill was of the view that if the scoreline had stayed in the visitors’ favour, it would have been harsh on PNE.
So there was much relief as he scored his fifth goal of the season.
The striker admitted that he almost messed things up in the build-up.
Having picked the pocket of defender Scott Wootton, he tried to play in fellow sub Eoin Doyle in front of goal.
Only when the ball had been taken away from Doyle did the chance present itself for Hugill to score.
“Eoin was in a much better position than I was when I won the ball,” said Hugill.
“Unfortunately I managed to fluff a five-yard pass to him.
“Their defender toe-poked the ball away from Eoin but it fell back to me.
“I just decided to put my foot through and put their keeper in the back of the net, so to speak.
“If I got my shot on target and struck it well enough, I knew it would go in and that the keeper wouldn’t have a chance with it.
“We deserved to equalise – there was no way we would have deserved to lose.
“All season we had worked hard and it would have been nice to end of a winning note.
“In the end we got the draw, which was probably the right result.
“We left it a bit late with the goal but they all count don’t they?”
It was the 23rd time that Hugill had come off the bench this season.
Three of his goals had come when he had started, against Blackburn and Bolton in the league, and Crewe earlier in the season in the Capital One Cup.
Reflecting on the game, Hugill said: “It was a tough one and both sides wanted to send their own supporters home happy.
“We probably cancelled one another out in the first half, it was cagey with only a couple of openings.
“The game opened up a lot more in the second half as they tend to do.
“Leeds didn’t threaten our goal too often but managed to score with the penalty.
“I came on after their goal and it was just a case of trying to get the equaliser, bringing a bit of freshness to the team.”
Hugill says that North End’s 11th-place finish is testimony to how they adapted to the Championship this season.
And he has labelled the top-half finish as a big success for a newly-promoted side.
Said Hugill: “It has been a brilliant season, our first back in the Championship.
“To finish in the top half of the table shows how hard the lads have worked as a team.
“We have been consistent and put in some great displays along the way.
“I will enjoy the summer break now, go on holiday and then come back raring to go for next season.
“As a squad, we want to do better next season, build on what we have done this time.
“We think we can get a lot stronger and it will be a great division to play in next time.
“When we come back in pre-season, we will assess what we need to do to improve on this very good season and work hard to try and do that.”