Point pleases PNE boss

Adam Reach switched from a forward role to a left-wing back position against Brighton
Adam Reach switched from a forward role to a left-wing back position against Brighton
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Simon Grayson was pleased with Preston North End’s performance against Brighton and felt the point they collected could have turned into all three.

The goalless draw at Deepdale was the fourth 0-0 between the sides in a row, it being 11 years ago that a goal was last scored in this fixture.

A Calum Woods volley which was pushed against the underside of the bar by Albion keeper David Stockdale, was the best chance to break the deadlock.

Grayson felt the Lilywhites had been the better team once they had put behind them an uncertain first 20 minutes.

The North End manager said: “We defended well, the shape was really good and Brighton found it hard to break us down.

“To start with, we maybe gave them too much respect, we didn’t pass the ball as well as we can and went a bit long.

“As the game went on, we got on the front foot more, passed it quicker and shorter and I thought we were the best team to be fair.

“In the second half we had a really good spell and created a few chances.

“As Brighton played with two holding midfielders, there wasn’t really the space that Adam Reach could get in.

“So we pushed him up a bit more to go down the sides with Joe Garner.

“Later on we changed it again, Reachy went to the left wing-back role and Callum Robinson went up front.

“We tried to do a few things to win the game and we will have got a lot of respect from Brighton.

“It was another clean sheet against a team in the top six, so we can’t be too disappointed.”

Grayson felt that Woods had been unlucky not to score with the chance which was tipped against the woodwork.

And he praised the right wing-back for getting into the shooting position.

Said Grayson: “We keep talking to Calum, keep ribbing him about not having scored for us yet.

“He has been playing the wing-back position really well recently, done it intelligently.

“You cannot keep going up and down the whole length of the pitch in that role, players simply haven’t got the energy.

“You have to choose your moment right when it comes to making a run into the box.

“Calum did that with the chance he had, the ball came into the box and he timed it well to be on the end of it.

“He did exactly what we wanted him to do in that he hit the target and made the keeper work – it was a great reaction save from Stockdale.

“Unfortunately, the ball has hit the bar and come out into play, on another day it might have gone in.”

Referee Mark Heywood’s performance did not seem to impress Grayson, there being a puzzling decision towards the end of the game when play was allowed to go on despite a Brighton player being on the floor.

But just when PNE were about to cross the ball into the box, Mr Heywood chose to halt play.

Said Grayson: “I spoke to the fourth official and he said it was a poor decision.

“He had shouted to the ref in his ear piece that their lad had a head injury.

“If he had stopped the game there and then, no one would have any complaints.

“Because he waited until the cross went in, we all got a bit frustrated.

“If it is a head injury, you have to stop the game.

“He should have listened to his fourth official and stopped it before then.”