PNE have stopped the rot

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Simon Grayson was pleased to have ‘stopped the rot’ of three Championship defeats as Preston North End shared the spoils with Bristol City at Deepdale.

However, the 1-1 draw was tinged with some disappointment as the Lilywhites were pegged back nine minutes from time after Neil Kilkenny had fired them into the lead early in the second half.

Neil Kilkenny celebrates his goal with Joe Garner

Neil Kilkenny celebrates his goal with Joe Garner

That said, it needed some top-drawer saves from Jordan Pickford and a glaring late Luke Freeman miss to prevent the Robins taking three points back to the West Country.

North End boss Grayson said: “It was an entertaining game I thought, a game we could have won, drawn or lost ultimately.

“There were chances at both ends and there were two teams out there desperate to try and win the game.

“In the last few minutes after we had conceded the equaliser, they had two great chances to score.

“But overall I thought we played well in what was like a basketball game with the game going from end to end.

“I was pleased to stop the rot as when you lose to three top teams like we have done, the next thing you need to do is to get at least a point on the board – we did that.

“There were some good points to take from the game and some points which we need to work on.”

Kilkenny’s 50th-minute shot from outside the box which put North End in front, was his first in a competitive game since August last year.

Before half-time, Joe Garner had hit the bar with a 25-yard effort, the striker still looking to end his barren run.

All four of PNE’s league goals this campaign have come from midfielders, Daniel Johnson netting two and Paul Gallagher on target.

Grayson said: “We have been telling Kila and a lot of the players to shoot more.

“We saw DJ at the weekend shoot from outside the box and score.

“Obviously Kila was delighted to score against his former team.

“His goal was a nice little platform to try and build on but we know what Bristol City are all about.

“They know a lot about us, they have threats, push their wing-backs on and are gung-ho.

“We were disappointed not to get a second goal to seal the game, we changed systems to push three up front against their back three to try and stop them bringing the ball out and to try and get another goal.

“That was a positive approach but their goal came from a fine cross from their left wing-back which Aaron Wilbraham finished well.

“We were then fortunate that they missed those late chances.

“Jordan Pickford was tested a lot, he made some vital saves.

“That is what he is there for, we have brought in some quality players and he is one of them.

“Hopefully he won’t have as much to do for the next few weeks as he did last night.”