Second-half show points way for PNE

Every credit: Graham Westley praised Jeffrey Monakana (above)
Every credit: Graham Westley praised Jeffrey Monakana (above)
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Graham Westley commended a strong second-half performance from his Preston side in their victory over Yeovil.

In the first half of the 3-2 win at Deepdale, North End were simply not at the races, falling behind to an early Gavin Williams penalty.

But after the interval, Jeffrey Monakana brought them level, before own goals from Luke Ayling – which is being claimed by Chris Beardsley – and Daniel Burn put them in command.

Burn netted at the other end to ensure a nervous last few minutes, PNE holding out to climb to ninth place in League One.

Westley felt the second-half show was deserving of three points, crediting his players for battling their way back into the contest.

He told the Evening Post: “It was a big shock to go behind early on, the shock reverberated throughout our entire first-half performance.

“Whatever we tried to do from the sidelines, we couldn’t get a change in mentality from the lads. It was a young side out there and perhaps the lads were experiencing the pressure of playing at home and conceding early.

“We basically forgot to play our game, we didn’t squeeze high from the back and didn’t really pressurise them out of possession.

“Although Jeffrey Monakana always looked to have the beating of their left-back, we weren’t getting the ball to him.

“Credit to the players, after half time they responded very well and put in a comprehensive second-half performance – if not a bit nervy after Yeovil’s late goal went in.

“We had the chances to make it more comfortable and I couldn’t remember too many chances at our goal. So conceding two goals in such circumstances was a bitter pill to swallow.

“If we continue to play how we did in the second half with the anger, aggression and quality in place, we’ll be scoring more than three goals and winning plenty of games.

“It was important to bounce back after losing at Walsall.

“We don’t want to lose successive league games – we don’t like losing full-stop.”

Westley was pleased with the performances of 18-year-old wingers Monakana and Will Hayhurst.

He felt Monakana got North End going in the second half from the right-wing, while Hayhurst grew into the clash on the other flank.

Said Westley: “In home games, Will has shown a great ability to keep our game big.

“Scott Laird and David Buchanan have great experience when playing together down that left side.

“But when Will plays on that wing, there is more thrust and aggression from us.

“Lee Holmes being out injured has given Will his chance, and his points per game record speaks for itself – it’s right up there. The side are performing when he plays.

“Like the entire side, his first-half performance was disappointing, and there were one or two occasions when he had to play with more confidence. But Will is proving that he’s a big enough player to wear the shirt.”

North End now face back-to-back away games, with tomorrow night’s visit to Doncaster followed by the short trip to Oldham on Saturday.

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