Joy and relief for PNE boss

Tom Clarke celebrates giving PNE the lead against Cardiff last night
Tom Clarke celebrates giving PNE the lead against Cardiff last night
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Simon Grayson felt a mixture of joy and relief at Preston’s victory over Cardiff City at Deepdale last night.

The 3-0 win was North End’s first success at home in the league since February.

It lifted them out of the Championship’s bottom three and was a richly deserved one after they bossed much of the game and created a host of chances.

The goals came from Tom Clarke, Callum Robinson and Jordan Hugill.

Clarke and Robinson netted within five minutes of each other towards the end of the first half.

Hugill saved the best until last, the striker coming inside off the left wing and curling home a 20-yard shot in the 87th minute.

Lilywhites boss Grayson said: “My feelings afterwards were probably a mixture of elation and relief.

“Nobody had been happy with the run we had been on and there was frustration around.

“But we always knew what we were trying to do, I said after the Barnsley game on Saturday that if we played the way we did in that one, a result was just around the corner.

“Before the game I spoke to the players and told them that they were the only ones who could change the run we were on.

“From the start you could see the effort and commitment of the players.

“They were positive on the ball and created a lot of chances, that was very pleasing.

“I trust my players, I have brought all of them to the club and I see what they do in training every day.

“We are not a group of prima donnas, we know we are not the finished article – we all want to improve and take that into match days.

“I had been encouraged by some of our performances this season but we had not been getting the results.

“This result was a big positive for us.”

Grayson admitted scoring the first goal of the game was key to last night’s win.

That came from the left boot of his skipper Clarke, the defender’s first goal since November 2014.

Said Grayson: “The first goal in a game is often vital at this level.

“You saw that at QPR last month when we scored first and took loads of confidence from that.

“Before we scored, you could see how confident and positive we were, people got forward.

“When you have got people like Robinson and Aiden McGeady in the team, you can make things happen.

“It was nice to see Tom Clarke score and someone told me it was the first goal from one of our centre-halves since Paul Huntington at Wembley.

“Tom produced a really good finish and we went on to build on it.”