PNE brawl duo to learn fate

Brawling strikers Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle were due at Springfields today to face the music after their red cards in Preston's defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
PNE strikers Eoin Doyle and Jermaine Beckford clash at HillsboroughPNE strikers Eoin Doyle and Jermaine Beckford clash at Hillsborough
PNE strikers Eoin Doyle and Jermaine Beckford clash at Hillsborough

The team-mates made the headlines for all the wrong reasons after fighting with one another during the closing stages at Hillsborough.

PNE boss Simon Grayson labelled their behaviour as ‘embarrassing’ and ‘disgraceful’, saying they had let the fans, their team-mates and the club down.

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Both will be hit with a large fine from North End, the squad due back in training this morning to start the build-up to Saturday’s derby clash with Blackburn Rovers.

Senior club officials had discussions yesterday on the matter, ahead of meeting the duo today.

The red cards will trigger three-match suspensions, taking in the games against Rovers, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City.

So it will be the Boxing Day meeting with Leeds that the pair are next available for.

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There will not be an appeal by PNE against the sendings off, even though the pushing and shoving Beckford and Doyle engaged in all fell below chest height – club sources say to do that would be seen to condone their behaviour.

The pair’s stupidity leaves Grayson short of attacking options until Christmas.

It was Beckford’s first game back since straining a thigh muscle in training three weeks ago and only his eighth appearance of the season.

Doyle had scored with his first touch after coming off the bench, bringing PNE back into the game after Wednesday had gone 2-0 up.

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Grayson said: “What happened was a disgrace and an embarrassment.

“As a manager, I normally try to defend players and I’m not one for criticising players in public – but they deserve everything they get on this occasion.

“They apologised in the dressing room but I said a few things too.

“They can apologise all they want but it was disgraceful behaviour.”

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Doyle and Beckford’s clash happened in the 90th minute after Doyle chose to pass to Marnick Vermijl after breaking forward with the ball.

Said Grayson: “It was the right pass to make, Marnick was in space and he should have done better and taken a touch before shooting.

“I don’t care who started it – you expect that in the playground between four or five-year-olds, not from two professionals who’ve been in the game a long time.”

With Wednesday down to 10 men after a red card for Fernando Forestieri, Grayson argued that the strikers’ red mist cost their team-mates the chance of an equaliser.

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“At 2-1, 11 versus 10, it looked like we could get something out of the game,” said Grayson.

“Those two should be embarrassed that they have let their team-mates and the supporters down, the supporters who had paid £33.”