Hats off to PNE on Gentry Day

PNE fans wave their bowler hats in the 33rd minute at Bolton
PNE fans wave their bowler hats in the 33rd minute at Bolton
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Simon Grayson was delighted to see Preston North End mark Gentry Day with victory over Bolton Wanderers.

More than 4,400 PNE fans were at the Macron Stadium to see Grayson’s men win 2-1 with second-half goals from Jordan Hugill and substitute Eoin Doyle.

They fought back from a goal down, Liam Trotter having fired Bolton in front in the 22nd minute.

Many North End fans wore bowler hats and suits for the game to remember supporters and ex-players who have passed away in the last 12 months, this being the 10th season that Gentry Day had been staged.

Supporters of both sides also joined in a minute’s applause in the 33rd minute to mark the 70th anniversary of the Burnden Park disaster in March 1946 which saw 33 football fans killed.

Preston boss Grayson said: “When you bring nearly 4,500 fans to a ground like this, you want to make sure you put on a performance for them and get a result.

“I thought we started the game well and could have scored inside the first few seconds.

“Our performance petered out in the back end of the first half when I didn’t think we were really at it without the ball, we weren’t closing people down and weren’t playing at a tempo when we had the ball.

“There were a few choice words at half-time because we have set high standards and I don’t want our season just to drift, I want us to win games and see where that takes us.

“The players responded in a really positive manner and we looked a far better team in the second half, together with a change of system.

“We needed to get Callum Robinson and Adam Reach further forward to work their back four, knowing Bolton had already conceded 60 goals this season.

“Doing that made us more potent, while we won more battles in the middle of the park too.

“We had pace and energy about us, the players who came off the bench effected the game.”

Hugill’s goal was his first in the league for North End, the striker getting his chance in the absence of the suspended Joe Garner.

He met an Adam Reach cross with a diving header, getting a kick in the head for his troubles.

Doyle’s winner late in the game came when he got the last touch to a Marnick Vermijl shot.

Grayson said: “I thought Jordan did well, you know what you will get with him – he’s a physical presence and a willing lad.

“It was a decent move for the goal and he was in there where the boots were flying.

“His goal got us back into the game and we looked a real threat on the counter-attack after that.

“It was then nice to see the second goal go in at a time when we were putting Bolton under pressure.

“I think Doyler is claiming the goal, although I don’t give a hoot who scored it just as long as we won.

“Ultimately, it says Preston North End won 2-1 and that is what it is all about.

“Today was a poignant day with it being Gentry Day

“Not too many people outside of Preston know much about it - I didn’t before I joined the club - but it is a great occasion and a big day for us.

“To win was a great way to celebrate it, against another fantastic football club.”