Alan Browne thinks his winner at QPR is Preston's most important goal of the season

Alan Browne believes his winner against QPR was Preston’s most important goal of the season so far.

REACTION: Alex Neil hails PNE's second-half improvement at Loftus Road
North End’s play-off hopes hung by a thread when Matt Smith gave the hosts an early lead at Loftus Road.

Callum Robinson equalised on the stroke of half-time however before Browne scored what turned out to be the decisive goal in the 2-1 victory as Alex Neil’s side moved up to eighth, just three points shy of the play-offs.

The Irishman headed home Paul Gallagher’s free-kick 15 minutes from time although Robinson claimed he had scored a second of the afternoon as he attempted to help the ball over the line.

“The ball just came in and I did my best to get up and compete for it,” said Browne.

“I managed to get my head on it and Callum’s got a touch on it but I think it’s already gone in.

Alan Browne is congratulated after scoring what turned out to be the winner for PNE at QPR.

Alan Browne is congratulated after scoring what turned out to be the winner for PNE at QPR.

“It’s unfortunate for him but a goal’s a goal.

“I’m just happy we got the second goal which pushed us over the line to get the result.

“It’s a massive goal, especially with results elsewhere.

“Things went our way today so it was probably our most important to date.”

Alan Browne scores PNE's second at Loftus Road on Saturday.

Alan Browne scores PNE's second at Loftus Road on Saturday.

Browne’s eighth of the season was another header, coming hot on the heels of the third in 3-1 win over Leeds on Tuesday night.

“I've never been bad with my head but this year I've managed to score a few goals with it,” said the midfielder.

“It's good to score different kinds of goals and have that in your game as well as putting the ball in with your feet.

“It's a nice attribute to have.”

It was a far from straightforward afternoon though, PNE having gone behind for the fifth game in a row as Ian Holloway shuffled the pack, making five changes.

“We knew that a team in their position was going to experiment,” Browne said.

“It was difficult to figure out what they were going to do today and they made a few changes.

“The gaffer did his best to do research and give us guidelines about what they might do and how they’d play.

“They probably had the better start but I think we figured them out quite early and managed to put pressure on them and take the game to them and get the two goals that we needed.

“It was a great reaction from the boys to come from a goal down again.

“We did it last week and we’ve done it again today.

“Everyone dug deep towards the end to grind out the result.”