PNE boss hails away–day win

Preston North End's Joe Garner climbs over Coventry City's Andy Webster
Preston North End's Joe Garner climbs over Coventry City's Andy Webster
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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson felt that his side’s display in the victory at Coventry was their best over the course of the full 90 minutes this season

The visitors always had the edge in the Ricoh Arena clash with goals from Tom Clarke and Joe Garner (pen) giving them a 2-0 win.

North End keeper Jamie Jones did not have a shot to save during the afternoon, with him well protected by a strong back four.

Clarke and Garner struck in the space of seven minutes just beyond the hour mark to the delight of 783 travelling PNE supporters.

Grayson said: “I think that over the course of the full game it was the best we have been.

“We have had exceptional moments in games for 25-30 minutes but from start to finish there was only one side who deserved to win.

“The lads worked hard and executed the game plan very well.

“We are not getting carried away, just as we did not get too down when we have not played quite as well.

“The players have stood up and been counted since the Chesterfield game when they were criticised.

“Since then we have got two victories, scored four goals and kept two clean sheets.

“The work ethic has been fantastic from the lads and I was delighted with the win.”

Victory moved Preston up to sixth place in the League One table where Bristol City continue to set the pace at the summit.

Reflecting on a fourth win at the Ricoh Arena – the Sky Blues’ home has in the main been a happy hunting ground for PNE – Grayson felt that his players have played an astute tactical game.

“We controlled the game, we matched the energy and tempo which Coventry like to play at,” said Grayson.

“We stopped them from playing and when we got the ball we passed it with a real purpose. We knew when to slow the play down and when to pick up the pace and push forward.

“The first half I thought we controlled for large parts and got into some positions where with a little bit more care in the final third might have got us the opening goal.

“At half-time we told the players to continue doing what they were doing, play to the shape of the team and that chances would come.

“They did come in the from of Tom Clarke’s volley and the penalty for Joe.

“The lads’ application and attitude was excellent, as a manager that gives you a lot of satisfaction after the work which has been done in the week on the training ground.

“When you look through the side, Jamie Jones did what he had to do and the back four defended like they should do.

“The midfield dominated with and without the ball, and we looked a threat going forward with Paul Gallagher and Chris Humphrey.

“Then we have Joe Garner our talisman who keeps on putting himself around and getting kicked from pillar to post but keeps coming up with the goods.

“There was the bonus of the lads who came on, Kyel Reid and Callum Robinson, both of who I thought did very well and gave us extra energy.

“We now have a clear week to recover and get some more work done in training ready for the Colchester game on Saturday.

“It is good to get a few days training because we will be back very soon to Saturday-Tuesday football.”