PNE were worth late point says boss

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Simon Grayson felt Preston North End’s late comeback to earn a draw against Birmingham was a deserved one.

Goals from Alan Browne and Greg Cunningham gave the Lilywhites a 2-2 draw at St Andrew’s after they had trailed to a Clayton Donaldson double.

Greg Cunningham celebrates after netting the PNE equaliser

Greg Cunningham celebrates after netting the PNE equaliser

Browne met a Tom Clarke cross in the 73rd minute to halve the deficit, then Cunningham scored after an almighty scramble in the last minute of normal time.

The Irishman had seen an overhead kick hit the post and then Bailey Wright headed against the other post before Cunningham fired home from close range.

Different goalkeepers were beaten for Birmingham’s two goals, Anders Lindegaard parrying a Diego Fabbrini shot into Donaldson’s path.

Lindegaard was forced out of the action at half-time because of a shoulder injury and replaced by Chris Kirkland.

Similar to the first goal, Kirkland could not hold a David Cotterill free-kick and Donaldson pounced to make it 2-0.

PNE boss Grayson said: “Birmingham started the game brighter than us, we didn’t deal with Fabbrini in the hole and he caused us a few problems.

“They got the goal which their start deserved and we needed to make sure we stepped up the tempo which we did.

“It was a big kick in the teeth to go 2-0 down when really we hadn’t done too much wrong in the second half.

“We showed fantastic character to come back into it and I thought it was the right result bearing in mind what we had done in the game.

“Tomasz Kuszczak had to make a number of saves, then in that last 30 minutes we didn’t have much defending to do because it was us on the front foot.

“Full credit to the players for the spirit and character they showed.”

Reflecting on the goals which were conceded, Grayson thought his keepers might have done better.

“We were disappointed with the goals to be honest, I thought both goalkeepers could have done a little bit better parrying the shots away,” said Grayson.

“These footballs do fly around though and maybe the defenders should have reacted a bit quicker too.

“You can analysis every goal but we did okay.

“We passed it around well, got on the front foot in the second half and had a bit more urgency about us.

“We believed we could get something out of the game and so it proved.

“In the second half we went to a 3-5-2.

“For our first goal it was a superb ball by Paul Gallagher out to Tom Clarke.

“Tom took it well, put in a great ball and it was good timing by Alan Browne.

“Once we got that, we got the wind in our sails and kept going at them.

“The second goal was down to persistence, keeping the ball alive.”