Preston North End retro match: Simon Grayson picks up point at Swindon in first game in charge of Lilywhites

Simon Grayson salutes the PNE fans after his first game in charge of the Lilywhites
Simon Grayson salutes the PNE fans after his first game in charge of the Lilywhites

Simon Grayson started his time as Preston North End manager six years ago today on Monday February 18, 2013.

After succeeding Graham Westley in the Lilywhites hotseat, Grayson’s first match in charge was a visit to Swindon Town the following Saturday on February 23.

Will Hayhurst celebrates scoring North End's goal at Swindon

Will Hayhurst celebrates scoring North End's goal at Swindon

North End came away from the County Ground with a 1-1 draw, a goal from Will Hayhurst having them in the driving seat for much of the second half.

Adam Rooney fired a 75th minute equaliser for the Robins and Grayson had to be content with a share of the spoils.

Westley’s 13 months in charge of PNE had ended 10 days earlier in the wake of a 3-1 defeat at Yeovil.

The Londoner met his Waterloo – literally – North End officials meeting with Westley in a restaurant at Waterloo Station to fire him.

First-team coach John Dreyer was put in caretaker charge and oversaw a 2-0 win over Bournemouth.

In came Grayson 48 hours after that game, his initial task to steer North End clear of the threat of relegation.

That was one he did more than comfortably.

In the trip to Wiltshire, Preston came under early pressure with Declan Rudd saving well from Swindon striker Andy Williams.

North End’s first sight on goal arrived in the 18th minute when Lee Holmes found himself with time and space on the right-hand side of the penalty area.

His drilled cross was scrambled away by Aden Flint and the loose ball evaded a number of white shirts who had made their way into the box.

Swindon had another sight on goal but Williams drove his shot across goal from an angle 12 yards out.

PNE counter attacked quickly three minutes later after defending a corner.

Hayhurst’s clever flick released Holmes, who in turn, found Stuart Beavon.

The striker set Nicky Wroe away down the left and the midfielder cut inside and fired wide of the far post from 20-yards.

North End took the lead in the 51st minute.

It was a great move which led to Preston’s goal as Wroe slipped the ball to Jack King.

He released Beavon down the right, the striker’s cross finding King who headed into the path of Hayhurst who hammered a shot into the roof of the net.

It was an early birthday for winger Hayhurst who was turning 19 the next day.

The lead lasted until the 75th minute when Rooney – on loan from Birmingham City – equalised.

Rooney scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.

North End left-back David Buchanan failed to control a pass and the ball fell into the path of Rooney, who calmly slotted home.

Swindon piled on the pressure after that, with Rudd having to pull off a fine save late on to dent Flint.

PNE: Rudd, Keane, Huntington, Wroe, Holmes (Procter 82), Buchanan, Welsh, King, Hayhurst (Robertson 89), Wright, Beavon (Beardsley 82). Subs (not used): Stuckmann, Garner, Monakana, Mousinho.